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Medic’s photo of moving ED sign goes viral

Matthew Harris says he sees a need for a pause to remember patients’ humanity


Photo/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

By Leila Merrill

NEWMARKET, Ontario — Earlier this month, an advanced care paramedic and registered nurse snapped a photo of a sign that moved him in the emergency department of the Southlake Regional Health Center in Newmarket and shared it on Twitter.

The message on the hospital resuscitation room wall: “I want to pause and recognize that this person had a life and dreams. I want to recognize the people in this room who tried their best to help this person today.”

The photo taken and shared in Paramedic Matthew Harris’s original post has garnered more than 8,500 likes, prompting Newsweek to speak to Harris about his viral message.

“We all struggle to some extent to maintain a connection to the humanity of our patients, especially in times of such incredible demands on healthcare workers,” Harris told Newsweek. “I think even small rituals that remind us of the patient as a complete person are valuable.”