Surgeon Heartbroken After Losing Friend He Was Saving

  • File image of doctors in line of duty
    File image of doctors in line of duty
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  • In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, health workers have been at the forefront to contain the spread of the virus. 

    The workers have been there through patient's treatment, recoveries and sadly, even when they are taking their last breath.

    However, it is not only during such a pandemic that health workers have gone through an emotional roller coaster in their line of duty. 

    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at the Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    On Friday, August 7, Joe Ruturi, a cardiothoracic surgeon, moved Kenyans after he narrated that his friend had passed on while he was trying to resuscitate him.

    He added that it not only broke his heart that his friend had passed on, but also that he had to derive a way to break the sad news to the family.

    "Today I had to resuscitate my friend in hospital. It did not go well . Then I had to inform his father and watch him absorb all this. Heartbreaking. Rest in peace buddy. I can remember the day I met you 30 years ago this month at University," he wrote on his Twitter page.

    Kenyans were sympatheic of the situation and took to the comment section to console the heavy-hearted doctor.

    "That's difficult to bear. So sorry. May our God comfort the family and wipe away their tears," Warue Kariuki stated.

    "Shocking news. You did try all you could but this life is too short. May his soul rest in peace and may his loved ones be comforted," Namazzi commented.

    Most doctors and medics have encountered the loss of a patient at a particular time in their career.

    Physicians may find themselves developing close relationships with their patients and when the patient dies, they may encounter grief-related job stress.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Margret Musa, a nurse at Kenyatta National hospital explained how traumatizing it was when she lost her first patient.

    Ms Musa narrated that she was a nursing student at a referral hospital in Baringo County when she was making her rapid assessment when she noticed that a patient was gasping for air.

    "The patient was a middle aged woman who suffered from severe pneumonia. She had been in the unit for 6 days and seemed to be responding well to treatment. Being a student, I had been assigned the most stable patients.

    "However, I realised my patient had confusion with deranged vital signs. I notified the doctors and we commenced immediate resuscitation," she explained.

    The patient, however, did not make it.

    Throughout her admission, Ms Musa narrated that the two had developed a friendship and she seemed to have been responding well to tretament until the very last day.

    "It was not easy but I have learned to take great comfort from my faith, acceptance that death is part of life, and, in all cases, I know that I have done my very best to care and advocate for each of my patients," she stated.

    Margaret Njuguna, another doctor, told Kenyans.co.ke that losing a patient is very traumatizing and shocking.

    "There's a feeling of dissatisfaction when the patient dies, a doctor keeps asking if they did the right thing to save a patient's life," Ms Njuguna stated.

    Experts say medics can deal with feelings after the loss of a patient by; trying to dispel the feeling of being a failure, taking time to reflect time spent caring for the patient, remembering positive interactions with the patient and expressing one's emotions.

    Stock image of the Kenyatta National Hospital.
    Stock image of the Kenyatta National Hospital.
    The Standard