Hoping for a cure

Have you ever asked a patient what they're hoping for, and they reply: "I'm hoping for a cure". When your medical judgment tells you that a cure isn't in the cards? The first time this happened to me, I didn't quite know what to reply: "Uh, well, i'm feeling like i wished i hadn't asked that question?" Not so good. Fortunately, there is something you can say: in fact, you can align with your patient, and even keep the conversation moving forward. Check it out... With special thanks to the Vitaltalkers we met in Copenhagen!

The pitfall about 'quiet'

You’re talking about something serious, your patient isn’t saying much, so you keep going...and going. Then later, your patient asks again--because they didn't get it. It's an all-too-common pitfall you can avoid: don’t assume that ‘quiet’ = ‘listening and understanding’. ‘Quiet’ might be the best face possible—put on by a patient who is experiencing something very different internally…

The wisdom of our emotions

Photo by Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com / Getty Images
Photo by Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com / Getty Images

John was waiting in the exam room for me. I was standing outside the door, not wanting to go inside. Two years ago his colon cancer was resected; one year ago his adjuvant chemo was completed. John had changed his diet, started hiking every weekend, and cut out a lot of beer. He lost 40 pounds and looked like a new person. At his last visit I remembered saying, “You are doing such a terrific job!” He beamed, full of pride and hope. Today, however, my pre-visit review had not been so terrific: his CT showed two new centimeter-sized pulmonary nodules. Oh, ugh, I thought. I’m going to ruin his day. Read more of Tony's post at ASCO Connection...