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I Don't Do Anger

August 22, 2021
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

I don’t do anger. The reason is part genetic, part learned, part defense mechanism.

But I understand the sentiment, especially after two punishing weeks in the MICU. Our patients should be home, soaking in the sun, enjoying their families. But instead, a desperate daughter weeps through an iPhone held up to her mother’s ear, begging her to keep fighting. Instead, a man sits by his wife, stunned and silent, as an exhausted nurse turns off the monitors in a darkened hospital room.

The pandemic should be over now. But when we needed truth, we got conspiracy theories. When we needed unity, we got division. When we needed generosity, we got selfishness. And when we needed obvious decisions, we got colossal errors.

Our team tried. We ordered dexamethasone, aspirin, tocilizumab, and remdesivir. We started epoprostenol. We flipped patients on their bellies. We infused fentanyl, lorazepam, and rocuronium. We tweaked PEEP, oxygen, tidal volumes, and ventilator modes. We called the ECMO team. We tried diuretics, antibiotics, heparin, and another round of steroids, just in case. But it wasn’t enough.

I understand why people are angry right now. It was bad enough when the virus was new, when we didn’t understand COVID the way we do now, when we thought the pandemic would end once the vaccines arrived. But the vaccines are here now, and we have millions of unused doses, wasting away in freezers as their expiration dates come and go.

But I don’t do anger. It’s just not in me. Instead, this morning I’ll head out into a hurricane, to join my team for one last day. Our patients need us to care for them, no questions asked. And that’s what we do, as we always have and always will.

Stay safe, everyone,


PS for further reading and viewing:


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on August 22, 2021