Pronounced my first patient just now. The hospice unit called down to our team room, so my resident and I put on our white coats, buttoned them up to look presentable, and headed upstairs.
Luckily there was no family in the room–I’m sure it would have been much more uncomfortable if there had been. Felt the patient: warm; checked for a pulse: none; saw no reaction of the pupils to light. It was very strange, putting a stethoscope to a warm, lifeless chest wall. You’re so used to hearing the rhythmic whooshing of the breath sounds or the lub-dub of the heart that it’s a little un-nerving when there’s nothing there. I moved my stethoscope to a few other places–wait, did I hear something?–but there was simply nothing there.
After a quick confirmation by the resident, we turned turned around to the nurse, looking at the clock on the wall. “Okay, we’ll call it Eight Thirty-Seven. Thanks.”