Haunted: Art of Oncology (doctor-patient relationship) Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Haunted: Art of Oncology (doctor-patient relationship)



Journal of Clinical Oncology


We know who they are, although sometimes not until they have already slipped past the neat fences we erect to preserve the decorous distance of the doctor-patient relationship. They are the ones who lighten the load when we see their names in the middle of a busy day’s schedule, who make us walk into the examination room with a spring in our step. They make us run faster and jump higher because we want to be our best selves for them. They are the ones we keep seeing for follow-up visits long after we know that any real medical necessity for an oncologist has fallen by the wayside because to see them healthy and happy makes it all worthwhile.
As an oncologist, I take seriously my duty to treat each patient with equal care and respect. But if I am truly honest, I know that a few will be different. In some cases, I can dissect the connection and identify its source: a similarity of backgrounds, an affinity of interests or tastes that is the rational basis of an unusual bond, a reason why I would open up to a certain patient more than others. But just as often, I cannot......

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