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Digging deep
  1. Jill M Huded1,2,
  2. Todd I Smith1,2
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  2. 2 Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jill M Huded, Department of Medicine, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA; jill.huded{at}

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Ten minutes past the end of my shift in the ED, Kristina approaches my desk asking if I can meet a family. Kristina is a former military medic now working as an Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) in our ED at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Ohio, USA. I look up to see tears welling in her eyes. She tells me that a veteran in room 6 with early-onset dementia is here for weight loss. The real reason for presentation is sensed by the despair in his wife’s voice. She is the caregiver for her husband, a reverend who led parishioners in Ohio for 35 years. A man tasked with the invocation when Barack Obama visited the Memorial Civic Center in 2008. A community leader who several years later began depending on notes when preaching became disoriented when driving and finally stepped down from his role as a pastor because of dementia. Mr. C’s wife was not sure where to turn, reaching the point of physical and mental exhaustion. She was assisting with his self-care needs, ensuring he did not accidentally fall down the stairs in their home, fitting …

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  • Contributors JMH and TIS both prepared and edited the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional unpublished data are available at this time.