Patients who share their stories unselfishly remind us why we do what we do.
When we sent photographer Jessica Scranton into Women & Infants Hospital to take pictures for this issue’s cover story, we didn’t know exactly what she’d be able to capture. The faculty members were confirmed, but the patients—notably, the newborns—were a little harder to pin down ahead of time.
So I was struck on Dec. 14 when we received word that four families had graciously agreed to allow Jessica to photograph their babies. I felt thankful, and a little awestruck, that they had opened their hospital rooms to a complete stranger, simply because we’d asked. I know something about giving birth in the middle of December—I recall vividly the fear that I wouldn’t be home for Christmas, worry that I would be expected to bring this delicate person to holiday gatherings so the family could meet her, guilt that we’d have to go out into bitter cold air to bring her home. These families already had enough on their minds, but it didn’t stop them from helping us to tell this important story.
I’ve always been humbled by the people who let us into their most private moments. The woman who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing. The families managing addiction in order to retain custody of their children. The father who had lost his son to epilepsy. They trust us to recount their experience without exploiting it. In doing so, they allow us to illustrate for our readers why researchers and physicians do the work that they do. They are the why of our entire mission.
I am profoundly grateful to the families who allowed us to photograph the first few hours of their children’s lives for this issue.