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

Hope in Times of Despair

Independence Monument on the Maidan Nazalezhnosti. Kyiv, Ukraine.


As citizens we must work toward peace; as clinicians we must strive to heal and provide hope in the despair of illness. 

I remember the night as a medical trainee when a patient was rolled into the emergency room stabbed in the back and in cardiac arrest. The attending called for a clamshell thoracotomy and yelled for someone to start a heart massage. The room was a sight of controlled pandemonium as lines were inserted, the heart massaged, and we raced against time to save him from the consequences of senseless violence. 


Watching the tragedy unfold in Ukraine, my birthplace, I can’t describe the feeling of betrayal this evokes—senseless violence on a large scale. As a clinician and an oncologist, I strive every day to blend compassion and science to practice the art of medicine and give hope in the darkest of times to those diagnosed with cancer. Cancer, the body turning on us, our own cells fighting against us. 


War is bombardment with bombs and terror, huddling in the basement afraid of running out of food and medicine—taking life away from hundreds of people. As humans we must strive to ensure peace; as clinicians we must strive to heal and provide hope in the despair of illness. 


The pandemonium settled as the patient was stabilized, wheeled into surgery, and eventually into the surgical ICU for recovery. Humanity must always strive to ensure war must yield to peace, despair to hope, illness to health. 






This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.