Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When Doctors Grieve

I have heard more than one story about oncologists who treated a patient for years and then when the patient died the family never heard from the doctor. Or the doctor didn't call or write or come to the funeral. And you wonder, "How can they do that?" The patient and their family believed this person was a partner, in fact, they may have used that language themselves, "We'll do this", or  "We'll work together." But then a death and "we" feels like, "next."

And you wonder, does anyone talk about this in the back room at the oncology center?

This article from May 27th New York Times may help to explain some of it--and also the high cost of doctor's denial and grief. It's a shame really. If death is framed as failure for an oncologist, how much of that shame gets projected onto the patient and their family.

And here too you'll read about how a doctor's grief over a past patient may be affecting your treatment. Oh, we so think that cancer treatment and oncology is a science but really it's more of an art and a blend of psychology and chemistry and grief. Read on. The link is below:

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