The unknown quantity

What determines if and when patients ‘turn the corner’? I have never understood. In my world of acute-on-chronic disease, where patients suffer sudden and life threatening reverses, there are numerous stories of unexpected turnarounds. Our efforts to prognosticate accurately have led to many scoring systems, all of which have been ‘validated’, but when applied to... Continue Reading →

When atheist doctors meet God’s will

Michelangelo's Pietà, detail It’s not often that patients near the end of life, or their relatives, invoke ‘God’s will’, but it does happen. When it does, the atheist doctor has a challenge. They ‘know’ that God does not exist, but must use words and arrive at decisions that take the patient’s religious convictions into account.... Continue Reading →

Curators of compassion

Mechanical medic, by Ben Mauro (concept art for the film Elysium)     “When I was hospitalized for multiple cancer surgeries, it was my #nurses who provided the compassion many of my doctors lacked.” – a Tweet I saw this week.   Why is this? Do doctors not care?   The question was brought into... Continue Reading →

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