A moving letter written by a physician to the family of a woman he treated for cancer has gone viral after it was posted on Reddit earlier this week.
The personal note came from an unidentified physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
It was shared by the 24-year-old Reddit user Mcharb13, who wrote “This letter from my late mother’s doctor has changed my life.”
The man’s mother was battling lung cancer and developed breathing difficulties a month ago. She was taken to the hospital where she passed away. According to her son, the letter was written for his father, who stayed by his wife’s side until the very end.
Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. (removed),
I am the Emergency Medicine physician who treated your wife Mrs (removed) last Sunday in the Emergency Department at (hospital). I learned only yesterday about her passing away and wanted to write to you to express my sadness. In my twenty years as a doctor in the Emergency Room, I have never written to a patient or a family member, as our encounters are typically hurried and do not always allow for more personal interaction.
However, in your case, I felt a special connection to your wife (removed), who was so engaging and cheerful in spite of her illness and trouble breathing. I was also touched by the fact that you seemed to be a very loving couple. You were highly supportive of her, asking the right questions with calm, care and concern. From my experience as a physician, I find that the love and support of a spouse or a family member is the most soothing gift, bringing peace and serenity to those critically ill.
I am sorry for your loss and I hope you can find comfort in the memory of your wife’s great spirit and of your loving bond. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family.
This is one of those stories that reminds you how powerful a simple act of kindness can be.
It also touches a personal note for me, because two years ago this week, my own mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. My family was absolutely devastated… I was barely 25, and my brother and sister were 19 and 16 respectively.
But in the days and weeks that followed, we were overwhelmed by the letters and notes sent by people who had loved our mom and been touched by her life. I made copies of our favorites and put together a binder for each of us to look through on especially hard days, to remember her warmth, her energy and her light.
So I can say from experience that this small act of compassion – the time this doctor took to write a note to a grieving family – means more than he or she could ever know.
We need more people like this in the world.