It was a usual start of a day at work for me, that’s what I thought. I changed into scrubs, went in to the staff room, checked the patient allocation, listened to the handover, went straight into my patient’s bedside, received a more detailed endorsement, assessed the patient. But that day, it was a little different. Compared to the usual patients in the Neuro Critical Care Unit (most are sedated, on breathing machine, confused, with altered level of consciousness and cognition) my patient was conscious, coherent, ambulatory, basically independent.
It was a special morning for this patient as the need for isolation due to flu has been lifted, thus, some sort of freedom has been given to him, after seven days of being confined in a room, most of the time on his own. I spoke to him, established rapport, served his breakfast, given his medications, and even assisted him for a shower (a proper one after a week). His wife and daughter even visited him that morning saying that he must be feeling “more human” because of that. I also accompanied them for lunch off the unit. I saw how such simple activity can change someone’s mood and brighten one’s face, and such positivity radiated towards other people, including me.
That same day, I managed to transfer him to our High Dependency Unit, where the patients who are stable enough to be out of the Intensive Care Unit are being looked after. I handed over to my colleague then said my goodbye to my patient. I told him that hopefully, I will see him back for a visit, fully recovered, or maybe, randomly outside of the hospital. He smiled and thanked me. I then went back to the unit and spent the rest of the afternoon helping out my other colleagues since I was left with no patient.
The following day, I came back for another shift, same routine same place but unaware of a surprise that will come my way. I was changing into scrubs in the dressing room when one of the kitchen staff spoke to me. He said, “Were you the one looking after the man in one of the siderooms yesterday?”. I thought about it and answered yes. He then responded and said, “Well that patient died”. I felt very surprised and said, “You must be mistaken, he was doing very well. We even went to the concourse yesterday when he had lunch with his family and he was just waiting for a bed in the ward”. Unfortunately, this sad news was confirmed to be true during the handover. Some of my colleagues also asked me if I have heard the news.
I don’t usually get emotionally attached to patients and same is true in this instance. But how can this news leave my mind all over the place, me staring blankly, not hearing anything outside of my head. That guy whom I spent my entire morning with, doing well, on his way to recovery, passed away last night. I felt sad. I thought of how his family was feeling, what happened and what were the things that lead to this. Amidst all these queries, the glaring question was, what have I done? Or, in this case, there was something important that I failed to do. It was not something medically related, but far more than that.
Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Mark 16:15 NIV
 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
I knew this command and I long to obey it. But how come I failed to do it this time?Why didn’t I take that opportunity to share the good news to this person? It is very seldom for me to look after someone whom I can talk to, and I didn’t make use of that opportunity. I often encourage other people to share the gospel, but I my self, was not able to do so. I felt like his blood was on my hands.
Ezekiel 3:17-18 NIV
 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die, ‘ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
In the middle of the disappointment towards my self, I still find the bright light in all of this. I was reminded that I cannot be complacent. Every given opportunity to share the gospel should be taken, for we are not certain on when our lives will come to an end. My purpose in this world should not be on my job, or anything that keeps me busy and takes my eyes away from what God has been asking me to do. This circumstance also made me check my heart. It lead me to assess my self if I have the same compassion that Paul had for the lost as seen in Romans chapter 9 and the rest of his works. Boldness and courage to proclaim the Kingdom of God, I didn’t exhibit these two qualities at that moment, and I have been praying for me to have them. Truly, in everything that I do, it should be for the glory of God, not for my pleasure, entertainment or desires.
Acts 28:30-31 NIV
 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
cto the owner of the photo