Present Moment

Louisiana ACEP is proud to have Dr. Jay Kaplan, past President of ACEP, as one of our members. He is currently an EM educator, mentor, and physician motivator, and lives in New Orleans. He has written a poem for healthcare workers, entitled “Present Moment”. Thank you, Dr. Kaplan, for putting these feelings into words.

Present Moment

You don’t know if your patient will be next        

as death can be seen wherever you gaze

old and young

                        chronically ill or previously well

it doesn’t seem to much matter

you search for those facts which put your patient at risk

            hoping to ease your own fears

            to reassure yourself that you are safe

                        but there is no such relief

you don’t know if you will be next

            and so

you worry for your patients

                        and you worry for your family

                        and you worry for your self

now a voice calls out

            go home

            now is not the time to be a hero

and you answer it

with a resounding


                                                it is that time

this is your calling

            retreat is not an option

and so you take one step and then another

one hour one day at a time

faced with constant reminders

of your own mortality

can you see

that this is a dress rehearsal of sorts

for when it is your time

            and that now is the time to be

                        a student of life and death

                        learning what is truly most important

to be grateful

to live in the present moment

            because nothing else is guaranteed

to love and allow others to love you

to inspire and give hope

to connect and support


no one wishes to feel alone in these times

even as you are forced

to put on barriers and create isolation

can you bring your human touch

to the human beings who surround you

                        you  must         we must

                                    Jay Kaplan, M.D.                 3/31/2020