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9/11 Poem by Dr. Joseph J. Fins Added to iTunes U

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Dr. Joseph J. Fins

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, the journal Health Affairs has added a new recording to its free collection of "Narrative Matters" essay podcasts on iTunes U. "Mosaics And Misery," a poem by Dr. Joseph J. Fins, chief of the Division of Medical Ethics and the E. William Davis Jr., M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics, professor of medicine, of public health and of medicine in psychiatry, was written on Sept. 14, 2001. It was inspired by the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital emergency department staff members, who waited that day for the arrival of the injured from the World Trade Center. Four NYP paramedics died during rescue efforts at the site.

The poem originally appeared in Health Affairs' January/February 2002 edition. It is included in the "Patients' Stories" section of "Narrative Matters" essays on iTunes U.

Mosaics And Misery

Corridors of anticipation we were,
Green scrubs, white coats and yellow gowns,
Prepared for the battle our Medic fathers waged
And won.

Our mosaic of color,
Stood and waited, Hopeful and proud.
Managed care and market share, irrelevant.
Healers again, ready to serve.

We hoped for a long night and day,
Aching fatigue and sleep deprivation
Fantasies of the worst of residency nights
So busy as to forget the images of the morning.

A curse to note the quiet,
We stood, Horrified by the silence,
As the fumes came North,
The sky grew as dim as our hopes.

Like the grey of Poland,
We feared incineration.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Our patients ethereal now, shadows in the sunlight.

Joseph J. Fins
14 September 2001

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