When a Doctor’s Note Goes Viral

February 14, 2013

It’s the doctor’s note that everyone’s reading.  A woman in the final stages of cancer made a visit to the New York Presbyterian Hospital ER and subsequently passed away.  The patient left such an impression with the treating doctor that this letter of condolence was sent from the doctor to the surviving husband.  You can find the original note shared by the woman’s son here.  There are more details on The Huffington Post.

Given the ubiquitous nature of digital communication, handwritten notes represent an increasingly powerful means of sending a message.  And when you couple that power with sincere emotion, people can’t help but stop, look and think.


Wendy Sue Swanson, MD February 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I need to write more hand written letters. Not just to those I’m fortunate enough to know while caring for their family as a physician, but as a patient, community member, and friend. This, a perfect reminder. Thanks, V.

Alan Regenberg February 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Fun to consider that while there’s something undoubtedly powerful related to this being a handwritten note, there’s also at least as much power in being to able to have the story/image go viral electronically. Amazing, really, to have the capacity to share such a poignant and personal moment. Maybe the real power is in breaking perceived barriers between digital/’real’ life. ie, we have lots of tools for communicating with each other, trick is in picking the right tool for each job/instance (as seems to have been the case here.)

Martha Stephens February 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I have been a nurse in every field of medicine in my 38 years, and never, have I ever seen anything remotely close to the humanity of this physician. I immediately posted it to share with the world, as the son also shared this letter with us. This is pure thoughtfulness and shows a sign of great empathy and hopefully, will give the husband some relief from the pain of losing his beloved. I was impacted and hopefully others are also, and will take the time to do something as nice as this . If so,the world will be a brighter, courteous place. God will bless this physician. I received a letter from the daughter of a dying loved one in 1982 similar to this “for taking the time to care for her grandmother” and to this day I have that handwritten treasured letter.

Erika February 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I see humanity like this from doctors and nurses often….great that this is getting noted….

NJM February 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

I refuse to believe that a doctor wrote the note because the hand writing was too legible for a physician. But moving none the less.

Previous post:

Next post: