What an Oncologist feels – Sunrise Rounds


A good piece by Sunrise Rounds on the practice of oncology (or hematology, or medicine in general). Quote:

On the other hand the continuous evolution in this complicated area of medicine means that you can never know everything, need to appreciate your own limits, and must be ready to adjust quickly, intellectually and emotionally, when you make mistakes. As a great teacher once told me, the emotional soul of the practice of medicine is “fear and guilt.” Fear for the mistakes you will make, guilt for the ones you have already made….

Finally, for the doctor there is the honor, given by society, to work in a special place, an “unknown country” where few people normally tread. A place of hope and of suffering; A place of victory, and of absolute defeat; A place of deep love and of infinite hate, for a disease which takes so much; A place where there is much that the doctor can do and very much he can not; A place where the value of life is never more understood, and a place where death is never more near. For the oncologist there is a sacramental obligation to his fellow man, carried deeply in his heart and which carries him during the toughest times.

What an Oncologist feels – Sunrise Rounds | Sunrise Rounds.


Patients prefer immediate access to radiology reports

Not surprising – I want it and I want it now –  to be irreverent, but more seriously, we are all worried when we get a scan and waiting any longer for good or bad news just makes it worse.

My experience has been that when it is serious, one gets the news back quickly (e.g, a call from the hospital is not a good thing!).

Some clinics – e.g., breast cancer in Ottawa – have a best practice when the imaging oncologist sees the patient within about an hour of imaging to be able to give a quick interpretation. Reduces the waiting anxiety to almost nothing.

Having read my full share of imaging reports, as well as having seen my own scans, I actually prefer having the professional interpretation – even if I have to wait a bit.

Patients prefer immediate access to radiology reports.