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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.

A review of the rules of the road for doctors, because everyone remembers their first license.

Oncologists deliver news—good and bad—on a daily basis. It is, for me, the most challenging and rewarding part of my job.

Are we failing to be as efficient as we could be in delivering care to cancer patients, particularly in follow-up after treatment?

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.


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