Into The Water Reading Response

In Katharine Treadway’s and Neal Chatterjee’s scientific article, Into The Water, they both discuss the complexity of the doctor’s way of dealing with compassion, or sometimes, lack thereof, by describing to the reader of different observations made in the hospital. One of the more shocking passages is when Treadway retells the reader of what she wrote in a reflection of her first year. Within only a few paragraphs, she makes it apparent that the key to having proper compassion in the medical field is to be self-aware. She acknowledges the tragic and traumatic in detail and startlingly bluntly, never sugar coating an incident, “I have seen entirely too many people naked. I have seen 350 pounds of flesh, dead: dried red blood streaked across nude adipose, gauze, and useless EKG paper strips.” The way she describes these types of incidents such as the death of a baby “— blue, limp, quiet” or someone on an OR table, “…anesthetized, splayed, and filleted…” are so profound, and yet necessary as people outside of the medical field don’t naturally understand why a doctor would disassociate themselves from the people they treat. It’s almost like looking at gruesome pictures of warfare, people don’t necessarily want to see it, but how can people learn from their mistakes (and victories) without seeing their consequences. While this passage as a whole tells us how doctors should act in terms of compassion and association with their patients, I think it is important to note, that we as the reader should also take on some of this responsibility. We tend to hide from the grim, grotesque things of reality, while doctors are forced to live with it every day, when perhaps, we, the reader, should become more compassionate towards the doctors who sometimes treat us.