Awaiting autopsy, the newly deceased lies supine, naked, on a metal table. The head is positioned as if the closed eyes were looking straight up. The arms are at the side. The knees and elbows are straight. The ankles are bent forward, not to the side, at an angle of about 45 degrees. I have seen the bodies this way of persons I had known, persons I had spoken with the previous day. And sometimes a live patient, consulting me for a physical examination, will lie the same way on the examination table, naked, looking up, arms at his side; and my thoughts turn to the autopsy suite. I wonder if I will someday see him too lying this way, recently cold, and I wonder about the complicated awful predicament of the physician.Short essays by Charles Bardes, M.D. on the practice of medicine. An appreciation of Charles Bardes by Sven Birkerts.
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