Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Have you ever cried with a patient? If you have, what was the patient’s response?


Read three short stories from a geriatrician, chemical dependency specialist, and a critical care specialist.

Connecting with Patients | May 25, 2018 | <1 min read


Colleen Christmas, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I genuinely love my patients, which means I feel joyous when they do well (hugs or high-fives may ensue), and deeply sad when they are not (hugs or tears may ensue). I’ve found that my patients understand this, and it has never once felt odd or out of place, but rather they show appreciation that I’m willing to travel their journey with them, even through the rough parts.

Mike Fingerhood, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

The most memorable (in a wonderful way) patient interaction that made me cry happened about a decade ago. My patient, after being on the brink of death with liver failure, came back to see me after liver transplant and shared a letter that she had received from the mother of the donor. The letter was impossible to read without tears, first from me, and then from the patient as she saw mine.

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Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I cried painting the nails of my 16 year old patient. She was intubated and the only thing she wrote down to have done for the day was her nails painted. Later that week she transitioned to hospice care, and I cried again when she made the brave decision.