Why doctor looks at dead patients' Facebook pages before notifying their parents

A doctor has revealed the reason why he searches the Facebook accounts of his dead patients before breaking the news to their parents.

In a candidly written letter explaining the brutality of his industry, Dr Louis M Profeta, an emergency physician from Indianapolis, said he owes it to the soon-to-be heartbroken parents to “learn just a little bit about you” before delivering the news.

“In about five minutes, they will never be the same, they will never be happy again,” Dr Profeta writes in a post published on LinkedIn.

“Right now, to be honest, you’re just a nameless dead body that feels like a wet bag of newspapers that we have been pounding on, sticking IV lines and tubes and needles in, trying desperately to save you.

Dr Louis M Profeta said checking the victim’s Facebook page makes them feel less like a wet bag of newspapers that they’ve been pounding on. Image: Marcus Hendry MD via Linkedin

“I know nothing about you. I owe it to your mom to peek inside of your once-living world.”

The forthright message to children explains that while they won’t ever be around to see it, the pain they are inflicting on their parents will linger for the rest of their lives.

“Dad screaming your name over and over, mum pulling her hair out, curled up on the floor with her hand over her head as if she’s trying to protect herself from unseen blows,” he writes.

“Maybe you were texting instead of watching the road, or you were drunk when you should have Ubered. Perhaps you snorted heroin or Xanax for the first time or a line of coke, tried meth or popped a Vicodin at the campus party and did a couple shots.

Dr Profeta explained their parents will never be the same after he breaks the traumatic news. Image: Getty
Dr Louis Profeta said he looks at victims’ Facebook pages to make them feel more human before breaking the heartbreaking news to their parents. Image: Linkedin

“Maybe you just rode your bike without a helmet or didn’t heed your parents’ warning when they asked you not to hang out with that “friend,” or to be more cautious when coming to a four-way stop. Maybe you just gave up.

“Maybe it was just your time, but chances are… it wasn’t.”

Looking through their Facebook photos, he said he can see them wearing the same necklace and earrings that now sit in a specimen cup, covered in blood.

“I check your Facebook page before I tell them you’re dead because it reminds me that I am talking about a person, someone they love.”

Read the full letter here.