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On My Mind |

Coping on Canvas

Ryan M. McAdams, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(9):795. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2264.
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As a neonatologist, I see a lot of babies die. Ironically, like most medical doctors, I have no formal training in coping with death. Over time, the emotional turmoil produced by witnessing a baby die may fade from a cry to a whisper. But grief, like sickness, often lingers and debilitates. The physical and mental challenges of caring for critically ill babies, with meager downtime to decompress and emotionally recharge, requires coping mechanisms. Painting has been an effective tool for me to deal with the despair associated with death.

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