Sunday, September 10, 2006

When nurses are better than doctors

I feel cancer surgeons are in a state of denial. When they treat a patient who has advanced cancer , rather than try to improve the patient's quality of life, they prefer to paint a rosy picture and provide the patient and family members with false hope. There's always something more to offer, such as radiation and chemotherapy - even though this may not help to improve life expectancy - and makes a patient much sicker than he already is. Oncology nurses are much more realistic - and more caring. All of us , whether we are patients or relatives - know that we all have to die some day. This is not a failure on the doctor's part, and a wise doctor will help a patient to face up to his death with courage and equanimity. Unfortunately, there are few doctors who offer this today. It's still much easier to refer the patient for chemo and radiation - which often ends up hastening the death !

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