Aside from the fact that as I grow older, I become more empathetic to the emotions of my patients and their families, two things have occurred over the past few months that have had a profound effect on the way I approach patients and families. Last month, at one of the quarterly VCSQI (Virginia Cardiac Services Quality Initiative) meetings that I attend, we were introduced to a husband and wife who lost their adult daughter after a series of preventable medical errors. Then, more recently, a friend underwent a heart transplant, only to come out on ECMO with primary graft dysfunction. At this point, we are not sure she is going to survive this. Both of these incidents have really made me think about the fear and emotions that our patients and their families are experiencing after cardiac surgery, and how we can better help them through difficult times.