I’m a nurse and a mother of two. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and my 7-year and 7-month old daughters. My older daughter has special needs, including severe apraxia of speech, and this blog is largely about navigating the emotions and logistics of raising a child with special needs. I also like writing about health care from a nurse’s perspective.


  1. Matthew Kaufman

    I read your article in the NYT about the ICU used as a “pause button.” I am an ER doc living in Brooklyn and working in the area. Describing ICU utilization and other life-extending measures in certain cases as a “pause button” is vivid and rings painfully true. In the ER I unfortunately initiate this path sometimes when a family does not agree to palliation even in the face of futility. I wish I could explain it as well to families. Great article. Good luck.

  2. Susan Phillips

    I am also writing in response to your NYT piece. I understood and appreciated it, but I feel you missed an important point, and made it seem that patients linger in ICUs only because families are indecisive. My mother died last year after a sudden diagnosis of advanced cancer and two stints in the ICU at NY Presbyterian. It was a rapid and brutal decline, accelerated by a poorly carried-out surgery intended to be palliative. Both of her ICU stays were prolonged, both of them because they started on a weekend and the place was simply bursting at the seams, there were no beds on the wards and no one would let her go home. These were incredibly frustrating and painful days for those of us who loved her. Hospitals need to do a much better job of moving people through the ICU. As her family member and advocate and health care proxy, I must also say I often felt like I was regarded as unwelcome and a general pain in the ass, and that her clear wish for palliative care was regarded with suspicion and not fully taken on board by the ICU staff.

  3. Michael Wang RN

    Hi Kristen, thank you for your NYT article. I am a cardiac nurse at NY Presbyterian. To Susan Phillips who wrote about her experience at NYP; I am so very sorry that your experience was such a terrible one. I can not speak on behalf of the ICU staff for I am not an ICU nurse, but I apologize for how you felt during those dark times.
    Kristen, thank you for shining light on an important topic. The article touched upon some very relevant points. Your perspective was much appreciated.
    I am currently working on something that can improve the patient experience as well as the experience of family members in the ICU setting. I was wondering if I can perhaps share my idea with you to receive some feedback. I hope what i am working on will improve the experience families and patients have in ICUs and hospitals in general. Thank you very much.

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