An emergency room doctor at New York Presbyterian Hospital has touched the hearts of millions after a personal letter he wrote about the death of a patient went viral on the Internet.
The letter was first published on Reddit by the son of the deceased woman, who reportedly died of breast cancer in December 2012. In the letter, the doctor explains that this is the first such note he has written in 20 years of ER work.
The letter has already been viewed by more than 2 million users on Reddit, with thousands leaving comments. The doctor's letter:
Dear Mr. (removed),
I am the Emergency Medicine physician who treated your wife Mrs (removed) last Sunday in the Emergency Department at (hospital). I learned only yesterday about her passing away and wanted to write to you to express my sadness. In my twenty years as a doctor in the Emergency Room, I have never written to a patient or a family member, as our encounters are typically hurried and do not always allow for more personal interaction.
However, in your case, I felt a special connection to your wife (removed), who was so engaging and cheerful in spite of her illness and trouble breathing. I was also touched by the fact that you seemed to be a very loving couple. You were highly supportive of her, asking the right questions with calm, care and concern. From my experience as a physician, I find that the love and support of a spouse or a family member is the most soothing gift, bringing peace and serenity to those critically ill.
I am sorry for your loss and I hope you can find comfort in the memory of your wife’s great spirit and of your loving bond. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family.
The 24-year-old man who posted the letter said in an email interview with the Huffington Post that the outpouring of support from Reddit users has helped him cope with the passing of his mother.
"If my mother were alive to see this, she would want readers to reflect on the power of showing compassion toward a total stranger," he said in the interview. "The support I got from Reddit was amazing—doctors, nurses and other Redditors who have lost their mothers to cancer were all shocked and amazed that the doctor took the time to write such a heartfelt, meaningful letter.”