Tags: written - poetry - bone_deep -

Breaking News

by Ben Offa-Jones

Breaking News

The edges of the room are soft and blurry,
Tired, damp eyes shrink and swell
Adjusting to the plastic brightness
Of the piercing fluorescent light.
Slumped shoulders, an aching back,
A contorted face of twisting muscles
Hidden beneath.
Striving to find the right expression
For this occasion.
A searching deep within
To find those chosen words,
That sympathetic gesture.
But the body is weak,
Fatigued from a gruelling shift
And only a murmur squeezes through
A dry, exhausted throat.
A painful "I'm sorry",
A crumpled smile
Is all he has left to give.

Ben Offa-Jones


The poem projects a vision of the future. The title reveals the situation taking place, a tired doctor breaking bad news to a patient or maybe a relative. I have not acknowledged the person receiving the news completely, instead, favouring an approach where only an impression is given of someone else in the room. I wanted to focus the attention onto the doctor's thoughts and feelings to illustrate my own worries and concerns for the future.

While we all know how we would like to deal with a patient or relative when a situation such as this arises, I wanted to portray a reality to this confrontation. We are all human beings and, while we know what we should say, the correct way we ought to act, we are susceptible to both mental and physical fatigue, affected by stresses and emotional strains which hinder our performance as doctors. Unintentionally, we can cause harm or upset our patients and their families.

The poem outlines fears I still have as a student medic, soon to enter the medical profession.

Whole Person Care