On Being a Patient: Terminal, Denial

In this essay, Dr. Lederle describes his thoughts on “coming to terms” with his terminal diagnosis.

In a second essay, Dr. Saxe reflects on how her own malignancies and her mother's dementia shattered her “protective wall of denial.”

Use these essays to:

  • Listen to an audio recording of each (Terminal | Denial), read by Drs. Michael LaCombe and Virginia Hood.
  • Consider whether hearing about a physician's devastating diagnosis affects them differently from hearing such news about a patient or a family member. Why?
  • Do we learn to put up walls between ourselves and our patients? In what ways are these walls detrimental? In what ways are they useful? How do we reconcile these opposing effects?
  • Do we all have to endure an illness ourselves or with a family member to shatter the wall?

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the January 2018 issue of ACP IMpact