Student Voice

When the Liver and Kidney Give Out

(October 2018)

I promise

It wasn’t because I didn’t think you deserved better.

When we talked that morning, I was so fresh

So naïve.

My lack of knowledge is what misled you.

I am sorry for that.

I did not understand how bad things had truly become.

With clueless gestures

With subtle positivity

I made you feel like things could get better.

They couldn’t.

This path had been set in motion

Years before we met.

When I came back with “our team”,

I had only sadness to share with you.

Before stepping in your room, I had been educated.

I truly understood how sick you were.

My “team” decided I needed to tell you

You would not live to see a new year.

I had about 4 minutes to process this.

4 minutes to accept and be prepared to explain

We are not going to fix you.

I put on my bravest face and delivered the news

As best I could.

I will carry this guilt.

I’ll always feel like I blindsided you.

I promise

It wasn’t because I didn’t think you deserved better.

Judas Kelley



Judas Kelley is a fourth-year medical student who is planning to practice as an orthopedic surgeon.  


This poem appeared in The Human Touch 2018, the 11th annual anthology of poetry, prose, photography and graphic art from the Anschutz Medical Campus community at the University of Colorado. 



CMS Login