Veterans Affairs Health Care System, East Orange, New Jersey, United States
Poet’s statement: This poem expresses my feelings and impression of an autopsy report I witnessed. This autopsy was performed on a 63-year-old man that was admitted and died within 24 hours. The remains of this man and the story they told . . . that is how I know him.
Spread before me is an eye-catching scene:
He stands behind such a table grand
Before him dried organs are laying spread
“The lymphatic nodes show gross necrosis
We see the mesenteries appear deranged—
He held up a kidney in his right hand,
“Now look, and note this singular prostate,
The pathologist took off his gloves and gown
Is this how I’ll appear some frightful day—
Photography by Optoscalpel
F. INGE FAUST, MSN, FNP-C, DMH is a nurse practitioner providing primary and urgent care at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VAHCS) in New Jersey. Here she has served both veterans and employees for the past 20 years in addition to instructing advanced practice nursing students in their clinical rotations. She received her master's of science in nursing from Columbia University of New York and her doctorate in the medical humanities from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Prior to her career in health care, she was involved in research in biochemistry and alcohol addiction, as well as in an extensive teen pregnancy intervention study for Suffolk County, New York.