The Hippocratic oath, a timeless ritual rooted in humanity

Followed by all healthcare professionals in great regard

To embed a sound belief in the world of hospital insanity

And to tell our patients we are their first and foremost guards

Unfortunately, this year has been nothing short of a paradox

Healthcare workers finding themselves in a bind — do no harm to patients

But for themselves? Having to resort to methods nothing short of unorthodox

They have been severely tried of their patience

It’s acceptable to re-use and re-use and re-use a mask

“There’s no evidence suggesting the harm”


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I knock on the door, as if to expect the usual greeting

No humming high flow oxygen, no telemetry beep

Our last meeting, the very last, yesterday evening

I walk in, soaking in the deathly silence and letting it seep

I walk in, to an aura of eerie calm

It is a bright morning, the room is shining and warm

And I watch the sun’s futile attempts on those pale palms

I’m breathing heavily, terrified, turmoiled, torn.

Although torn, this was not an unexpected death

Cancer, oxygenation-ventilation, starvation

It was an inevitable outcome that was met

There was no alternative…

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There’s a COVID-19 patient on your list

It’s 6:55 AM. First day jitters, first day introductions.

“She likely won’t make it.” That was the gist.

Welcome to residency. That was my induction.

What am I doing? What is going on?

I don’t know where to go! Where is the workroom?

That COVID-19 patient, off my list 2 hours later — she was gone

Did I do something wrong? Is this white coat just some costume?

Alone, confused, scared, shock, lost.

Empowered, responsible, knowledgeable, trusted.

Right now, I was the former, feeling some type of crossed

I wanted to be the…

Kirtan Chauhan

Internal Medicine resident at the Baylor College of Medicine. Interested in bridging the gap between healthcare inequity & innovation for the 21st century

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