Getty Images

Doctors have a tremendously difficult job, often wrestling with the weight of life and death on any given day. As you can imagine, they're also expected to maintain their composure––even if they're having a hell of a time.

We were able to learn more once Redditor nilax1 asked: "Doctors of reddit, how did it feel seeing a patient die for the first time?"

"I lost my first patient..."

I lost my first patient before going to medical school. I was a medic in the Army and I was the first person to arrive on scene and do something (bunch of onlookers who seemed too stunned to do much were surrounding the patient).

I found this person unconscious and not breathing, so started CPR and directed others to go get 911.

Got the patient to hospital where they worked on them for another hour, to no avail.

Felt like a colossal failure, and felt like I was responsible for their death, because I couldn't help them.

Absolute devastation. Couldn't sleep for days, the nightmares were too vivid.

Absolutely destroyed my confidence. I had the knowledge base and could prove it in multiple ways, including my CPR Instructor certification and the fact that my students had gone on to use CPR to save lives was documented in the local paper.

Made no difference. I felt like I was personally responsible for that person's death.

The autopsy would go on to demonstrate that the person had a genetic heart condition and could have collapsed in the ER and the result would have the same.

I was consumed with abject misery and despair.

It took several days to regain my professional bearing and several years to ultimately forgive myself.


"As a medical student..."

As a medical student:

Got an EMS notification that they're coming in with a man vs. train. He rolls into the slot moaning, with a fast heart rate and low blood pressure. Badness. We call the blood bank to activate massive transfusion protocol. As we finish up the secondary survey, his heart slows down and really drops his pressures and we start CPR. I end up running to the blood bank and I'm sprinting back with a 30lb cooler full of blood products. I come back and the trauma surgeons have done a thoracostomy and they're doing cardiac massage. He eventually flatlines and time of death is called.

During the debrief immediately afterward, I looked back at him and saw his heart peeking out from behind his lungs, still wriggling. He might have been in fine vfib and not true a-systole, but he had extensive head wounds that really weren't survivable.

I took 30 seconds in the hallway to collect myself before walking through the doors and going back to my patients and explaining to them that yes, I do care about your runny nose and I'm sorry that I've been gone for so long.

I went back to the trauma slot about an hour later to get some supplies or something and the room was very clean and the body was covered with a sheet. There were a couple detectives asking some questions before they went to notify family. Really struck me how his death was the end of our job, but the start of a lot of hard jobs for other people.

Still think about it sometimes. Had a couple fatal traumas back to back on that rotation and I think it made me a lot more sombre- every happy moment is kind of colored by the knowledge that life is temporary. Memento mori I guess




It was during my palliative care term. Palliative care physicians try their best, but there are limits to what morphine and other drugs can achieve. There's a point in ageing and terminal diseases where we can't satisfactorily treat pain and other discomforts, like thirst and breathlessness (which feels like drowning, but over and over). A few patients were in so much pain they just wanted to pass, but we weren't allowed to facilitate that. So some patients are just sedated around the clock, awake for 1-2 hours a day but asleep the rest of the time.

The first patient I watched die was a lovely middle-aged woman with terminal cancer. She was in extreme pain and said she had been forced to watch herself lose everything, one by one - her career, her hair, her mobility, her house, her mind, her friends. She didn't feel like herself anymore and even around the time she died, she said she couldn't believe this is how it ended. She was frequently requesting to die near the end, and I was unexpectedly relieved when she finally got her peace. I felt very conflicted at the time, because I simultaneously liked her as person, yet wanted her to pass as a patient.



Overdose found in his mom's basement at 7am. I remember doing a ton of chest compressions on this 300lb guy in his 20's. I remember the nurse telling me I didn't look so good. I remember his mom stroking his hair and telling him it'll be alright. I remember I really really had to go to the bathroom. How did it feel? I was just really tired more than anything else.



Looked very peaceful.

Especially in comparison to what we put people through when they're in intensive care and we're hell-bent on not letting them die today.


"I feel like half the time..."

ICU nurse here. I feel like half the time I'm just torturing these poor old people because their family won't let us do what is best and let them naturally pass. They think they are being loving by having us do every thing we can to sustain life, when really it's the opposite.

I'm feeling bitter today because we had a family turn down palliative care on this tiny old man today because they want us to do everything we can.


"It felt cruel."

Cardiac arrest call put out on a ward where nurses were not used to resuscitating patients. I was first there, rest of team stuck in ED, anesthetist stuck in theatre. Flying solo trying to resuscitate a patient who really should not have been for resus, who was pulseless for god knows how long, and I was too junior to make the call to stop. It felt cruel.


"This guy..."

This guy was 100. Literally. But he was a vet, came in walking and talking (transfer from a VA), and I was just doing a quick screening on him after admission. His chart was excellent, given his age. He was talking to me as I checked his BP, and then, surprise, he had no BP. Me: "WTF?" He coded and we got him back, but he died the next day.


"I'm a doctor..."

I'm a doctor but.... Seriously.....

I don't actually feel anything...

Until I saw my best friend in high school dying in front of me. I never knew it was him until I saw the records. It hurt me real bad.


"A little..."

A little 7 year old boy named Stephen died after his dad's girlfriend stomped on him. I tried to CPR the little buddy, but he died on the way. I brought him a teddy bear and flowers at the hospital. RIP Stephen Michael Yates. 2/11/00 - 6/24/07 (He was my nephew) I cried super loud when he died even though I was 25.


DQ: What has been your hardest experience in the hospital?

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

What's the most traumatizing thing you experienced as a child?
Keep reading... Show less
Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

Why are you single?
Keep reading... Show less
Tiard Schulz/Unsplash

Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!

What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."


"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.


As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

One such instance involved a little sister who was around 6 at the time. It was the 90s and at the height of the youth-focused PSAs (think the frying egg representing your brain). One type was a safety PSA about stranger danger. The speaker would remind the children that if a stranger tried to take you anywhere to yell “Stop, you're not my mommy/daddy" to raise the alarm.

Keep reading... Show less