ER doc's touching letter to patient's family goes viral

An emergency room doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital touched the hearts of millions after a personal letter about the death of a patient went viral.

NEW YORK — Big city emergency rooms can be chaotic, overwhelming and painful places. When life's unfortunate twists land you in one, the experience can be cold and impersonal. So when an emergency room doctor from New York-Presbyterian Hospital wrote a heartfelt letter to a man whose wife had just died at the hospital, millions took notice and the letter soon went viral. 

The letter, which has been viewed by over 2 million people, was posted by the deceased woman's son to the social network site Reddit and can be seen here.

It reads:

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.

(removed), MD

The 24-year-old son 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. In fact, he posted the letter to the site with the header  “This letter from my late mother’s doctor has changed my life.”

He told Huffington Post that he was helped not only by the doctor’s sentiments, but the outpouring of sympathy it evoked from others.

“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,” he said.

While New York-Presbyterian Hospital confirmed the incident did happen, it declined to identify the doctor, saying he or she preferred to remain anonymous.

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