New York Times: Aiding the Doctor Who Feels Cancer’s Toll

New York Times Personal Health Blog graphic by Yvetta FedorovaThe New York Times reports from our recent Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium: in the Personal Health blog, Jane Brody describes how doctors who care for the terminally ill may find themselves sharing their patients’ pain and facing burnout from the stresses of their jobs – and what can be done about it. Dr. Diane E. Meier, keynote speaker at the symposium, tells Brody a story of an oncologist she knows who thought the next step for a patient terminally ill with advanced cancer “might be to deliver chemotherapy directly to her brain. It was a risky treatment that he knew would not, could not, help her…. When [Meier] asked what he thought the futile therapy would accomplish, the oncologist replied, ‘I don’t want Judy to think I’m abandoning her.’ [The] question prompted Judy’s doctor to realize that what his patient needed most at the end of her life was not more chemotherapy, but for him to sit down with her, to promise to do his best to keep her comfortable and to be there for the rest of her days….” Read more…

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