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Lucas Arney

A robot. A robot is all they want me to be.

Day after day, I sit telling her parents the exact same story.

A story of death. A story of how. A story of why. 

A pigtailed three-year-old with dropping cell lines.

Not a story of what we can do. Rather, a story of how we are going to try.

Honestly -- with the goal to just briefly satisfy.


Leukemia? Aplastic anemia? The truth is we don’t know.

And yet, as a third-year medical student, I must deliver this harsh, earthly low. 

Repeating her sweet little name as if the parents are clueless.

This feels disgusting. I feel ruthless. 


Patient-centered rounds, they call them. Honored and upheld for sounding so great.

A simple algorithm developed to focus on the patient’s current state.

No, no, no, this is how we put patients first, they say.

Right, well let me just hop on stage and prepare to display. 


Display a bunch of information the family had just heard the day prior.

Information on why she’ll die here.

Over and over again, they relive this pain.

All while “honesty is never in vain.”


Oh, and here are her new labs. Getting worse, each and every day. 

Until out of nowhere, she awakes without a fever, feeling somewhat okay.

Cell lines with an upward trend, getting sweeter and sweeter. 

On my stage, I focus on these labs and how we have no explanation either. 


Crying with the patient’s mother, because she needs this scarred hand to hold. 

Being there with her so she knows her daughter didn’t fit this normal disgusting mold.

Leaving the room, I thank God for blessing this perfect little girl today.

Reprimanded for my emotions and skipping SOAP, I refuse the medical robotic way.


Lucas Arney

Class of 2025