how ‘the doctor may save himself’ …

October 25, 2011

in Art & Literature,Hospice & Palliative Medicine,Spirituality

“Not every patient can be saved, but his illness may be eased by the way the doctor responds to him – and in responding to him, the doctor may save himself. But first he must become a student again; he has to dissect the cadaver of his professional persona; he must see that his silence and neutrality are unnatural. It may be necessary to give up some of his authority in exchange for his humanity, but as the old family doctors knew, this is not a bad bargain. In learning to talk to his patients, the doctor may talk himself back into loving his work. He has little to lose and much to gain by letting the sick man into his heart. If he does, they can share, as few others can, the wonder, terror and exaltation of being on the edge of being, between the natural and the supernatural.” Anatole Broyard

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