You’ve heard this moving, heartbreaking story: a community of Reddit users photoshopped the medical tubes away from a photo of a baby girl for a grieving father–and allowed him the chance to remember her without the apparatus of her struggle. The photos and outpouring of support the father, Nathan Steffel, received did some small part to help him deal with the devastating pain of losing his child.
After reading about the story, Dr. Stephen Higgins, a neonatologist in Philadelphia, wrote to us about what he sees (and does) in his practice and about the courage of the families he encounters: “The photoshop article with the baby really hits home. We try as much as possible if there is a brief opportunity to quickly get a picture of any baby with the endotracheal tube out. Sometimes the tube has to be briefly removed, we bag mask the infant for a short time, grab the camera and take a quick photo with the tube out, then if necessary put a tube back. The response from the parents is remarkable. Sometimes the only time they see their child’s face without the ET tube is when we are withdrawing life support. I’m amazed every day by the strength and grace of most families.”