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A doctor has revealed the reason why he searches the Facebook accounts of his deceased young patients before breaking the news to their parents.

In a candidly written post explaining the brutality of his job, Dr Louis M Profeta, an emergency physician from Indianapolis, said he owes it to the soon-to-be heartbroken parents to “learn just a little bit about you” before delivering the news.

“In about five minutes, they will never be the same, they will never be happy again,” Dr Profeta writes in a post published on LinkedIn.

“Right now, to be honest, you’re just a nameless dead body that feels like a wet bag of newspapers that we have been pounding on, sticking IV lines and tubes and needles in, trying desperately to save you.

“I know nothing about you. I owe it to your mom to peek inside of your once-living world.”

“You’re kind of lucky that you don’t have to see it. Dad screaming your name over and over, mum pulling her hair out, curled up on the floor with her hand over her head as if she’s trying to protect herself from unseen blows,” he writes.

“Maybe you were texting instead of watching the road, or you were drunk when you should have Ubered. Perhaps you snorted heroin or Xanax for the first time or a line of coke, tried meth or popped a Vicodin at the campus party and did a couple shots.

“Maybe you just rode your bike without a helmet or didn’t heed your parents’ warning when they asked you not to hang out with that “friend,” or to be more cautious when coming to a four-way stop. Maybe you just gave up.

“Maybe it was just your time, but chances are… it wasn’t.”

Looking through their Facebook photos, he said he can see them wearing the same necklace and earrings that now sit in a specimen cup, covered in blood.

“I see your smile, how it should be, the color of eyes when they are filled with life, your time on the beach, blowing out candles, Christmas at Grandma’s; oh you have a Maltese, too. I see that. I see you standing with your mom and dad in front of the sign to your college. Good, I’ll know exactly who they are when I walk into the room. It makes it that much easier for me, one less question I need to ask.”

“I check your Facebook page before I tell them you’re dead because it reminds me that I am talking about a person, someone they love.”

Read his full post here.

Share your comments below

  • What a tremendously caring doctor this man is. So much better than the police pounding on your door to give impartial news of your son’s death.

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  • reading that gave me goosebumps. it must be the worst part of being a doctor having to deliver bad news.

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  • Not sure Facebook accounts give 100% true accounts of most people’s lives. So not sure looking at them would be of much help to anyone

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  • It has to be one of the hardest things to do

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  • It has to be so hard for the doctors but this doctor thinks of the people left behind as well. Such a thoughtful and caring doctor. God bless you.

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  • What a beautiful story, it’s nice that a doctor would care enough to do this and not see you as another number.

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  • Wow that is wonderful to think a doctor is so caring.

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  • WOW, what an amazing human being and the kind of Doctor I would want treating my family. Such compassion.

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  • Oh gosh, wow. This man truely is a doctor – caring, compassionate and trying to make a difference and help people. What a beautiful thing to do!

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  • How sad and what an amazing Dr. Yes he is telling that family a very much loved member of their family has passed away and they were human beings who were loved and lived just like himself.

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  • This is so sad, but so lovely of the dr to do this

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  • It’s good that he does this – I’ve met so many uncaring doctors.

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  • That’s surely the worst news to give and the worst news to receive. :-( This doctor brings a touch of humanity to his job.

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  • It’s good when a doctor sees a body not just as a nameless dead body that feels like a wet bag of newspapers that they have been pounding on, sticking IV lines and tubes and needles in, trying desperately to save it. Although I can imagine that a doctor needs to keep a certain amount of distance to be able to keep doing his/her job.

    Reply

  • That is beautiful. Under so much stress and have to take on that responsibility to tell parents, good on this person to show so much compassion

    Reply

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