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Responses to Earlier Post

Posted 1/31/2014

Posted in

  A few days ago I shared the remarkable essay by Paul Kalanathi, the 36 year old physician with end stage lung cancer:

  If you have not already read it, please take a few minutes to do so. It is a remarkable piece of writing. 

  I am currently in Scottsdale (no ice on the sidewalks! flowers in bloom! blue skies and lunch outside!) for meetings, and have talked about this essay with several colleagues. We were all most admiring of Dr. Kalanithi and wondered if we could do as well. I surely have learned that living with serious illness involves constant juggling of hope, denial, and distraction, and he has this down to a science.

  I think you would be interested in these few letters to the editor in response to his piece. One is from another young person with advanced lung cancer, echoing his thoughts, and one is from a nurse practitioner who comments on how often people are not told how ill they are. In my experience, this is absolutely true. Do they want to know? Not always. Do their doctors find it hard to have these conversations? Absolutely. But, it has always seemed to me, that people deserve the truth as much as we can know it, and surely deserve the opportunity to make decisions based on reality. Most of us would live a little differently if we knew we had six months vs. 30 years to live--or, more in this context, if we knew that we had two weeks vs. two years. Your thoughts?

HHere is the link to the letters:


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