Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A sad, sad story

I've linked before to columns by Dr. Amy Tuteur, who blogs at salon.com. Today, salon has front-paged an excellent piece of hers, in which she describes a devastating experience from her medical internship, when she did not speak up against an oncologist who recommended chemo to a clearly-terminal patient.

I'm sure that many of us who have, or have had, cancer can relate to the oncologist's desire to pursue any chance of recovery, no matter how remote. But many of us who have had chemo can also relate to the patient's conviction that the end of life should not be a time of over-medicalization, but rather of sitting on a beach somewhere and saying goodbye peacefully (even if, still, painfully) to a lovely world.

The article is food for thought. It is very easy to be swayed by the signals we get from our doctors. One doctor who offers a strong opinion can change the entire rest of our lives--and they are not always right. To me, the moral of the story is: independent second opinions!!