Read the handwritten ER doctor’s note that’s gone viral on Reddit

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Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 1.16.40 PMComputers might be able to take over some of what a doctor does, but they sure can’t do this.

Last week, Reddit user mcharb13 posted a photo of a handwritten note from a doctor that he said has changed his life. It’s a condolence note that was sent to his father by an emergency room physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital who had treated his mother, he told the Huffington Post. His mother had breast cancer and died several hours after being taken to the ER.

In the note, the doctor explains that this is the first such note she’s written in 20 years of ER work (the name of the doctor was omitted from the photo, but Redditors seemed to think it was a female, based on the handwriting.)

“Our encounters are typically hurried and do not always allow for more personal interaction,” she wrote. “However, in your case, I felt a special connection to your wife, who was so engaging and cheerful in spite of her illness and trouble breathing.”

The note struck a chord with at least 2.1 million people and prompted more than 1,300 of them to leave comments. Many of the comments have come from people who have also lost parents, and many have come from physicians as well.

One said:

They don’t train us how to deal with the human element of our job very well. Most react by developing a deep callus over their hearts. Some of us are down-right evil in how jaded we’ve become. I’m sure other healthcare workers can testify. So, it is a true testament to your parents relationship for this to pierce beneath that callus. Whatever they were doing, apparently, they were doing it right. It sounds like you have a couple of great parents. Copy them.

Another wrote:

I pray to God that when I make it as a trauma surgeon, I do not become desensitized to the sometimes inevitable loss of life of my fellow man or woman, nor desensitized to the joy of saving or helping to improve the quality of life of my patients.

It’s a reminder that, even in the digital age, bedside manner and compassion go a long way.

 [Photo from Reddit user mcharb13]