Gentle reader, the hour is late. As the poet said, almost all of the grains of sand allotted to 2016 have sifted down onto the pyramid of memory. Before this year’s hourglass empties, though, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the phenomena we observed during the past months in this esoteric branch of medicine.
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.
The relationship between oncologists and their patients is labor-intensive and arouses great emotions. The specter of death is always in the shadows; as it waits patiently, it makes conversations poignant. Oncologists should be skilled in soothing the fears of their patients without appearing trite or patronizing.
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.
This slide show presents tricks for surviving and thriving at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Everything from transportation, McCormick Place, planning your days, using social media, which sessions to attend, how to network, where to eat, and how to be a tourist in Chicago.
No matter where you practice medicine, if your duties include patient care then you are going to interact with other oncologists. In some cases you may question the quality of their care. Help your peers to become better physicians by respecting them first, then relaying your concerns to them. Here are some examples of how not to do it, paired with kinder, gentler alternatives.
Over half of all US physicians will be sued for malpractice at some point in their career. Every goody two-shoes knows how to avoid that: be kind and compassionate, yada, yada, yada. Here we reverse the scenario and reveal 15 highly effective habits that, in the face of a bad outcome, might inspire patients to give a personal injury lawyer your address.