As a cardiac anesthesiologist, there are times I care for patients who are faced with a tough decision: to take their chance on a very high-risk surgery, or let nature take its course. It is in these times I feel most humble and most human, as I may be the last one to hear the last words they speak.
Several years ago I was on my way to pick up my son from preschool before doing an overnight shift at the hospital. As I approached a stoplight, I saw a car speed through the intersection and strike a pedestrian walking his dog. I knew instantly the man was seriously injured. I pulled my car over and rushed to help.
One of the most difficult things I must face each day is whether I stop and face the whistle, or decide to drown it out. How I respond to this decision, day in and day out, is what separates growth from decay.