Robert L. Carolla, MD
Disclosures: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M14-2884.
Carolla RL. Letters. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:806. doi: 10.7326/L15-5168
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(10):806.
I appreciate Dr. Hartmark-Hill's kind comments about my essay. I am touched that it may be a tool to inspire future physicians. Nearly 40 physicians have taken the time to communicate their comments to me—mostly by e-mail but also with handwritten notes and letters. I have heard from oncologists as well as other subspecialists. All comments have been positive. I am truly stunned by the response. Clearly, the article has struck a chord with many. In a sense, it went viral, Annals style!
Of course, our patients desire state-of-the-art care. This is what our training is all about, and this is what most of us are prepared to deliver. What the physician often overlooks is that patients also crave recognition that they are human beings with the right to be treated with kindness and respect. Physicians have a duty to convey that they care for their patients' total well-being. The technology, impersonality, and endless delays of oncology treatment can be off-putting to even the most sophisticated and terrifying for many. In the process of delivering the best technical care, physicians may lose sight of their patients' humanity—and their own.
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