The Obituary of an angry ICU physician

Pictures of happiness we never knew

By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN

I wish I could have known him.

That other side of him.

I look at his obituary pictures. 

Family, friends and colleagues sharing pictures of you smiling and laughing. Hugging each other. Smiling ear to ear. They were sincere smiles. Sincere happiness.

I wish I could have known him.

He was brilliant. One of our main ICU physicians. He could meticulously turn a critically ill patient around. With this Intensivist, there was hope for the patients.


The side of him we knew.

Angry. Short tempered. Screaming at us. We were experienced nurses. We knew how to be great ICU nurses.

But we feared him.

His was a bulldozer who showed us no respect. He degraded us.

There was nothing we could do to gain his respect.

We were a failure in his eyes.

And every time he came into our ICU, we wanted to hide. 

Because the screaming would begin.

Relentless verbal abuse.

Management wasn’t there for us.

It was: “deal with it”

He finally left us and went into his own private practice.

We finally gained some type of peace while we re-collected our self esteem. 

We were there for the patients.

We were there to put these tattered multi-system organ failure patients back together again.

A new team of Intensivists came to us slowly. One by one. We were restored, as we began to create a new ICU unit filled with respect. With camaraderie. With sharing each other’s information and respecting our collective expertise.

I’m sad that as brilliant as he was he couldn’t find joy or happiness with us nurses.

Somewhere he had a demon that walked through our doors terrorizing us.

I’m glad you had some happiness elsewhere. Your pictures show us that other side that we never knew.

We wanted to respect you.

But you had too much anger in you.

Whatever you were facing, we may never know.

Rest peacefully.

I wish we could have known him.

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