Reflecting After Christmas: Oh, What A Merry Time To Be In The Hospital

“Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in the conspiracy of love” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Don’t you just love driving around the glowing neighborhoods this time of the year? Those magnificent wreaths and garlands, homes adorned with icicle lights, and bright-lit Christmas trees with dazzling ornaments are such eye candies. Christmas is indeed my favorite time of the year. It is truly magical how this month brings a sense of happy spirit and togetherness among people. Be it in your own home or grocery stores or malls, our ears are instantly tuned to the jingle bell. What makes this season even more special is the privilege of family members coming together under one roof as most everyone gets those days off work.

However, medicine is one such field that does not take days off in this peak time of accidents as well as other illnesses. As a matter of fact, holidays are often known to surface some of the most emergent cases. Several studies indicate that, in the United States, more people die in hospitals during Christmas, the day after, and New Year’s Eve. As a medical student observing the “future me” from a distant, I see myself being a little more stressed like most physicians around me. Similar to most people, there is of course cleaning, cooking, and shopping to be done apart from being at work. However, we tend to still put our patients as a priority over everything else. Does it lead to increased burn out rates in physicians? Maybe not in the short term, but undoubtedly in the long run. At every step in your life and profession, we often tend to question the meaning and essence of life.

Yes, it feels horrible to be at work when everyone is having the time of their lives around you. That hot meal on the table quickly turns cold as you see that motor vehicle crash roll into the emergency room. Nevertheless, amidst all the chaos, I am grounded when I see that sick patient who probably planned for a very different holiday with his or her family rather than lying in bed being poked and prodded by me. As doctors, we signed up for this willingly. Sure it is a tough road, and it can’t be acknowledged enough. We miss out quite a lot on family time. However, getting patients to their families often ends up being more gratifying than missing out on being with your own family. For those aspiring medical professionals out there (like me), maybe the holidays serve a greater purpose if you open yourself up to being a part of a bigger picture.

Who knows, you might just see that Christmas miracle that you’ve always wished for!



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Nirzari Pandya

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.