Oh goodness – there’s is no way you can read this account without having one of those “I’ve got something in my eye” moments.
Writing on the Humans of New York Facebook page, kids’ cancer surgeon Dr. Michael P. La Quaglia explains how it feels for him as a medic to lose a child to the disease.
Michael is chief pediatric surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre and has very candidly shared how he personally struggles every time a little one doesn’t make it through:
“The absolute best thing in the world that can happen to me is telling a parent that their child’s tumor is benign. I live for those moments.
“And the worst thing that can happen to me is telling a parent that I’ve lost their kid. It’s only happened to me 5 times in 30 years. And I’ve wanted to kill myself every single time.
“Those parents trusted me with their child. It’s a sacred trust and the ultimate responsibility is always mine. I lose sleep for days.
“I second-guess every decision I made. And every time I lose a child, I tell the parents: ‘I’d rather be dead than her.’ And I mean it.
“But I go to church every single day. And I think that I’m going to see those kids in a better place. And I’m going to tell them that I’m sorry. And hopefully they’ll say, ‘Forget it. Come on in.”
What an emotional read – and what a wonderful man Dr Michael is – something many commenters on the the post have all agreed. One wrote:
“My most vivid memory of him is the night of my daughter’s first surgery. Dr. LaQuaglia got the tumor out but she clotted in a way he had never seen before.
“She was very, very sick and very close to death. He looked at me as I was trying to maintain my composure and welled up with genuine tears and said he wished it was him and he’d try everything to save her.
“And he did. He wanted to even stay by her bedside with her but the rest of them team wouldn’t let him. His tears will forever be etched into my memory, he truly got our pain.”
“Dr La Quaglia saved my life almost 9 years ago when I was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumour. He performed my surgery on my sweet 16th birthday and we celebrated with the nurses the next day.
“I will never forget his care and his calming words.”
Wow, what a real life hero you are, Dr La Quaglia. 💜