Writing Award Winner, Poetry, 2021
“They Will Say That We Were Savages,” Sophia Gorgens, MD
When corona came, we understood nothing
but instinct—IV, O2, monitor STAT
bloodwork, imaging, intubation.
Still, they died.
Outside our hospitals, bodies
were being stored in ice trucks.
We had patients self-extubating,
as they struggled out of bed,
confused and air-hungry,
found too late
by overworked staff.
In nursing homes, no one tested in fear
of what they’d find.
In five years, we will turn
on the television
to ads from lawyers
saying, “Were you a victim
of early intubation? Were you
not approved by the FDA?”
A woman called asking about her husband
who had been dead three days.
They will say that we were savages
and they will be right.
But in those days,
there were only savages there
to save lives.