A recent study examined the influence of social interactions between cancer patients during chemotherapy sessions, finding that patients who spent time with other patients who died within 5 years had an increased risk of dying within 5 years themselves. Pardon me for being underwhelmed.
With some analyses warning of an impending oncologist shortage, are we truly approaching a point of critical need? Are practice extenders such as advanced practitioners the best solution to fill that gap or are there other options?
You may have missed the report concluding that patients had lower readmission and mortality rates if they were under the care of female hospitalists vs their male counterparts. I know excellent physicians in both camps and some sorry ones as well.
Likely, most doctors would say they are good listeners. It is an essential skill when studying and practicing medicine. But under stress of limited time or a patient not responding to treatment—maybe our ability suffers a bit. Perhaps we are listening but also talking and not checking for understanding.
Patients continue to say they want more information, so they can make informed decisions. But repeatedly, studies tell us that the patient and the family are not hearing us, not understanding us, or both.
I hope to see many of the exciting agents presented this year become available and affordable for my patients. But when the miracle isn’t happening we have an obligation to talk it out and be candidly compassionate. We need to know when to put the pedal to the metal and when to hit the brake.