Behind the White Coat

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Warning: There are countless horrible things physicians encounter as a resident. The following is a particularly disturbing episode involving a stillbirth that you may not want to read. I have changed certain details to maintain privacy.

I had a list, once.

It was a list of things that I wanted to experience and treat as a resident when I would have backup and could ask for help. Things that I wanted to learn how to handle there rather than out in the “real world”.

One was a still birth.

So, one afternoon in my second year, sure enough, a young woman showed up at labor and delivery. Her baby had stopped moving a few days before she said and she was cramping a bit, in early labor.

There was no heartbeat on the Doppler or on the ultrasound. She had been about 27 weeks gestation we estimated.

It was awful…

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