After A Dying 80-Year-Old Was Told To Pee In A Bag, Her Doctor Discovered The Devastating Truth

Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

In front of Doctor Marco Deplano is a terminally ill, elderly patient whose body is ridden with cancer. Heartbreakingly, she looks as white as the sheets she lies in. Not wanting to hold back, he informs her that her kidneys are failing. The solution? A bag enabling her to pee which he’ll attach for her. But with a sigh, the woman uses a word not often uttered to doctors, “No.” And then she says something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Now, Dr. Deplano is a urology surgeon based in Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia. And he has worked as a urologist since 2010, after graduating from The University of Cagliari. Taking that into consideration, Deplano has plenty of experience in his field of medicine. However, the encounter he had with the patient in question would leave a lasting impression on him.

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Things had begun pretty ordinarily enough at the Sirai di Carbonia Hospital in 2016. Yes, Deplano was working on the urology ward when he received a call from another department. There, the staff needed his advice because they were dealing with a patient who had kidney failure. And it appeared to be as a result of her terminal cancer.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Given his expertise in urology, other departments sought out Deplano for his advice on a daily basis. So in this sense, the phone call he’d received was nothing unusual. However, that all changed when the surgeon went to meet the elderly woman in question. In fact, the experience shook him to the core.

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Indeed, the doctor, then 37, felt the need to recount his interaction with the lady on Facebook. Describing the patient, he wrote, “She was between 70 and 80 years old, looked incredibly pale, and had carrot-colored hair just a couple of centimeters long, but impeccably varnished pink nails. I looked at her file, examined her and repeated the ultrasound scan.”

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Sadly, it turned out that the old lady was suffering from kidney failure as a result of compression on the ureters. Now these tubes connect the kidneys to the bladder, allowing for urine to be expelled out the body through peeing. As such, they play an important role in keeping the body healthy.

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But with her ureters impeded, Deplano’s patient would be unable to pee in the regular way. As a result, she would need medical intervention to help her expel her bodily waste. So, Deplano told her, “At the moment your kidneys have difficulty expelling urine, and since they are unable to do so naturally, I will have to insert a small tube.”

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In order to help the patient, the young surgeon was recommending what’s known in the medical world as a nephrostomy. And this procedure creates an opening in the skin that leads to the kidneys. That allows urine to be expelled directly from the organ via a tube, thus bypassing the ureters.

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You see, nephrostomies are usually carried out when a patient is suffering from a blockage in the urinary system. Essentially, it means they can’t go to the toilet in the normal way. And if left alone, pressure can build within the kidneys leaving them damaged. So it’s important for a patient’s overall health that urine is regularly got rid of.

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Therefore, surgeons insert a catheter that leads from the urinary tract to outside of the body, allowing urine to drain. There, the fluid gathers in an external bag which can then be emptied as regularly as required. In general, the procedure is considered to be extremely safe. However, there are some risks including infection and hemorrhage.

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But when Deplano put the routine procedure to his patient, she had a question. Yes, on Facebook the surgeon revealed how the woman had replied, “Excuse me for interrupting, but will I have to have a bag behind [in the rear] too?” Deplano confirmed that this was the case, and that’s when the conversation took a poignant turn.

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In fact, there was what Deplano described as a “deafening silence” that lasted moments, but seemed like an eternity. Finally, the elderly patient spoke, and what’s more, she now seemed to want to connect with Deplano on a personal level. So, with a smile, she asked the surgeon for his name.

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Initially, Deplano responded to the lady by giving his surname. However, she wanted to connect with him on a first-name basis. So, the surgeon relented and told her that he was called Marco. And the patient responded by saying, “What a nice name,” before asking, “Can you spare me a couple of minutes?”

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

So Dr. Deplano granted her wish, and listened to what she had to say. Now he was presumably not expecting anything extraordinary from this conversation with the woman. However, as he talked with her he unexpectedly received “the most touching life lesson.” And furthermore, it was something that he could simply not keep to himself.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Yes, the surgeon was so moved by what the elderly woman said that he would later relay his conversation on Facebook. Touchingly, she had spoken from the heart, and her powerful message later touched thousands of people who read it. Taking this into consideration, within hours of Deplano sharing his post, it went viral.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Indeed, as Deplano’s account circled on social media, it was eventually shared an impressive 100,000 times. Furthermore, it attracted 156,000 reactions and 2,800 comments. So it seemed that the dying woman’s message had resonated with thousands of people. And this was despite the fact that most of them would’ve had no connection with the surgeon or his patient. But what about the doctor’s own feelings in all of this?

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Well, Deplano knew all too well how evocative his patient’s words had been for him. He explained how “every word she said stripped away [my] defenses as if taking petals off a flower.” Revealing how the moment enveloped him, Deplano added, “I forgot my exhaustion, my anger, and frustration, everything.”

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So what had the patient said that had prompted such a visceral response from the young doctor? Well, it had begun when the elderly woman said to the surgeon, “Do you know that I am already dead? I died 15 years ago, you see.” Then, she asked Deplano if he understood what she was saying, but he did not.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Of course, he expressed his regret for the lady’s sad statement, but he was otherwise at a loss to understand her. And that’s when she began to open up to the doctor, explaining what she meant by her odd admission. Furthermore, what the woman had to say was truly heartbreaking.

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Indeed, the patient revealed to Deplano, “Fifteen years ago my 33-year-old son passed away; he had a heart attack. I died that day too, you know? I should have died with him, 15 years ago.” Revealing her agony, the woman added, “I died then, with him. And then I died again ten years ago when they diagnosed me with this disease.”

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While the woman had managed to live with her heartbreak until now, it seemed her kidney failure was the last straw. For it became clear that she actually was dying, which seemed to come as a relief. As she went on to explain, “I don’t have to pretend for others anymore.”

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As she continued to explain to Deplano, the patient revealed more details about her family situation. You see, she explained how her other children and grandchildren were all grown up and doing well. So she finally felt ready to reunite with the son she’d lost all those years ago. She told the surgeon, “I want to go join him.” And with that she made a decision.

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Yes, given that she no longer feared death, the woman decided to turn down Deplano’s offer of a nephrostomy. In fact, she told the urologist, “What’s the sense in living a few more days with a bag, suffering and causing pain to my loved ones? I have my dignity.” And then the patient turned to Deplano with a question.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Indeed, she asked, “Will you be offended if I don’t want to do anything? I’m tired. I’m ready to entrust myself to the hands of God. Tell me the truth, will I suffer?” Well, Deplano assured his patient that it was up to her how to proceed. However, he tried to broach the subject of the nephrostomy once more.

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But the woman simply wouldn’t consider the procedure. And she told Deplano firmly, “Marco, I said no. It’s my life. I’ve decided. If you want something to do, let’s stop the transfusion. Then I can go home and eat ice cream with my grandson.” So faced with peeing in a bag, or living out her days with dignity, the patient chose the latter.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Astonishingly, the patient’s honesty left Deplano feeling floored, however, he admired her decisiveness. Writing on Facebook, the surgeon said, “I forgot the years of study, the thousands of pages I’d read, the rules, the facts. I felt naked and disarmed facing this candor, this awareness of death.” Furthermore, the normally professional doctor found himself caught in an unlikely scenario.

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That’s right, so overcome was Deplano by his patient, that he struggled to contain his emotions, and had to compose himself. As he went on to explain, “I turned around to write in the file so the nurse wouldn’t see the tears in my eyes. I was so moved. Anyone who knows me knows, that’s not usually me.” But Deplano’s tears didn’t go unnoticed by his insightful patient.

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You’ve guessed it, realizing the surgeon was upset, the woman asked him, “Marco, does this touch you?” Responding with honesty, Deplano said, “Yes, a bit, Ma’am. I’m sorry.” However, the dying woman reassured him, “No, it’s nice. Thank you. It makes me feel important.” And on that note, she emphasized that she was responsible for the decision alone.

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You see, the dying lady said, “If my children come and start screaming at you, call me and I’ll give them a good telling-off. You write on your report that I’m fine.” And the patient had yet another request for Deplano. What’s more, it was almost a kind courtesy to round-off the touching interaction.

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Yes, she uttered, “Marco, can I ask you something else?” she said. “You’re a special young man, I can tell, and you’re destined for great things. Can you give me a kiss? Like the kisses that children give their mothers. I will pray for you and for my son. I hope to see you again.”

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

As you can guess, Deplano obliged and gave the lady a kiss. And later he would write on Facebook, “At that moment she was the most beautiful woman in the world, bright, determined, mom, grandma… in a word, pure love.” And more importantly, the doctor said that the patient had given him the “most touching life lesson of [his] life.”

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Following her chat with Deplano, the woman soon returned to her ward. But the encounter would stay with the surgeon for some time, leading him to reflect on the interaction on social media. There, he explained how the woman had helped him to rethink his attitude towards death, and accept it as she had.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

That’s correct, because Deplano reflected, “Things that years of study don’t teach you. I felt so small there, in front of this magnitude. “Suffering is part of love, it brings people together sometimes even more than love itself. And sometimes a kind word is a more powerful cure than the most modern drug. Whatever you think, cherish the journey.”

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

And clearly judging by the attention Deplano’s Facebook post received, he wasn’t the only one the woman’s words had resonated with. For beneath the surgeon’s update, one commenter said that the story had taught her an “amazing life and death lesson.” Meanwhile, another person said of Deplano, “Doctors should all be like this!” But that’s not all.

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Elsewhere, another person added a comment which read, “I think it’s right what the lady said… Everyone should have the right to opt for dignity. Thank you, doctor. I’m moved and speechless.” And another commenter enthused, “Congratulations Dr. Deplano, I admire your profound humanity.” But the urologist was minded to take all the praise in his stride.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

Yes, while Deplano was moved by the comments, he said he had simply done his job by respecting the woman’s wishes. Writing on Facebook once again, he said, “I’m really amazed, flattered, surprised and excited to see how a simple post can trigger all this media ruckus. I just reported an excerpt of everyday life. Thank you so much.”

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

As he continued to explain, “You patients are not all the same, and each one of you needs your own time. Above all, we doctors are just men and women, with our limitations and personalities. Most importantly, we are not God. Life ends when it has to end and, just like you, we are helpless bystanders.” From there, Deplano went on to talk about his own life journey.

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Indeed, Deplano continued, “First and foremost I am Marco, not Dr. Deplano, with all my strengths and weaknesses. I have my own (difficult) character, even though I leave my personal problems outside the hospital doors… I’m only human… and I have so much to learn.” Nevertheless, the surgeon was grateful for the kind words he’d received.

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As he went on to explain, “I want to thank everyone for the messages of admiration, of comfort … but I don’t deserve all this fuss. Any thanks should be shared with all the people like me who do what they can to try and make you feel better.” And on that note, the post ended.

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Image: Facebook/Marco Deplano

In spite of Deplano’s protests, many are likely to agree that the attention the post received was well deserved. After all, his encounter underlines that not even doctors and medical professionals have all the answers. In fact, sometimes the so called experts can also learn a lesson or two. And that includes that physical remedy is not necessarily the solution to everyone’s pain.

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