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What Should Doctors Do When We Experience a Miracle?

By Daniela J Lamas, MD @ NYT / doximity

It was just before dawn in the intensive care unit when something unexpected happened.

My Covid-19 patient’s condition had been worsening for weeks, and we had finally recommended to his family that we stop all aggressive interventions. It was clear he was dying. But that night, my team watched in amazement as his oxygen levels started to rise, slowly at first and then steadily. Standing outside his room, I found myself, somewhat uncomfortably, thinking of miracles.

As a critical-care doctor, I become nervous at the very idea of miracles. I hear the word and think of tense family meetings and impossible hopes. I imagine loved ones at the bedside waiting for improvement that will never come. Miracles are often what patients’ families beg for, and they’re not something that I can provide.

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