By Jalal Baig – The Guardian.
I was reluctant to let a young patient know he had aggressive cancer. If there was no rhyme or reason to who got fatally ill, nobody was safe
As a medical oncologist, I often give bad news. My words alter the trajectory of lives once teeming with plans and aspirations.
I should be used to it. But physicians are sometimes vulnerable to the wounds of our patients, even as – or, perhaps, because – we absorb their suffering and seek to provide hope in the direst of circumstances.
There was a patient who came into the hospital with a seemingly basic complaint of back pain. But a CT scan revealed evidence of a more pervasive disease than his symptoms suggested – a multitude of lesions had spread throughout his 40-year-old body. The tumors were in his spine, bones, lungs, liver, bladder and brain, and there was evidence that they could have spread to his heart… read the full story.