I once made a promise to a young boy with half a heart. I could not keep it.

“Am I going to die?”

There was a mixture of fear and pain in my patient’s eyes. He was a second grader but had already survived three major heart surgeries. Now he had pneumonia and was struggling to breathe. We were about to intubate him.

“You’re a strong guy,” I whispered to him as his mother held his hand and sobbed. “We’ll get you through this.”

He died two days later.

I drove home …

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