I will never forget a few years back, having a poorly-controlled TYPE I diabetic come to the hospital in acidosis. Her respers were about 40 a min! Anyhow, she had gone and spent a (rare in Seattle) 90 degree day outside, not having eaten much good for her, just junk food, and having drunk even LESS H20 when she came to be ill and passed out at the picnic 2 hours away from the nearest facility (ours of course). She had been fully documented as extremely non-compliant throughout her life and pregnancy by her home doctor, and we all groaned when we saw her faxed prenatal record as well as her horrible physical condition. Her sugars were ridiculous.
Anyhow, upshot is, she comes to us very, very sick and yes, her 39 week fetus very, very dead. It was beyond sad. She was mostly incoherent and therefore, unaware of even losing her baby until some time after she was delivered. She regained her senses about 2 days later. I will never forget the mournful wailing coming from her room when her doctor and family told her the sad, sorrowful news. The whole family was in shock and beyond sad. They had to suffer witnessing this loss, and then relive it all over again as they told her what had transpired. It was without a doubt, one of the saddest cases I have ever seen in my career. Her baby, a perfectly formed 8 pound baby girl, lie still in our nursery, unseen by her mother the whole day she was there, because of her mother's grave condition. We had to send her to the morgue, unseen by her mother, until the funeral.Her poor father, held her lifeless body, crying over her loss, and also, worried sick over the condition of his very ill wife. I felt so deeply sad for that poor guy. No one should have to endure such a horrible thing.
I guess I relay this story to convey I know how you feel. How to cope? I do not know---nothing about cases like this make sense to us at times. I felt bald resentment and fury at this mom, to be sure. What she had lost due to her noncompliance! What her parents, husband and inlaws had to endure! So senseless!!!!! So damned selfish too! So much suffering in the wake of her actions.
But also I could not help but feel deep sorrow and sadness for her. The conflict in emotions was crazy. In the end, the empathy for her won over my anger at the wasted life I saw slip away that day. I just can't sit in judgement too long in such cases as I just am not walking in their shoes. Would this gal do things differently, if she had the chance? Given her sorrow, I like to think so. But my heart goes out to her and her family in this loss that to this day, must haunt them so terribly.
There "ain't no magic" to this at all. You feel what you feel. What you are doing here, venting, is smart and helpful.But if this continues to upset you, don't stop here. Talk to well trusted colleagues, friends, family, or even therapist, if need be, to work it out. Just do not let it eat you up inside. Such cases will haunt your soul if you let them. You have to learn to let some of this stuff go and sort of adopt a philosophy of "what will be, will be" to survive in times like this. Just respect your feelings enough not to bottle them up, if at all possible and be extra kind to yourself when situations like this upset you in your career.
Anyhow that is my less than 2 cents here.