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Poetry and Oncology
May 27, 2021

The Room of Other Lives

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Oncol. 2021;7(7):1075. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.1473

As I lower the stethoscope upon his back, I enter a room
where in moments it is as if I can see the whole portrait

of a life peeling away in layers of strained exhalations,
a press of metal falling upon the whispers of identification.

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    1 Comment for this article
    The Room of Other Lives
    Tejinder Kataria, MBBS,MD | Medanta The Medicity,Medanta Cancer Institute
    The poem by David Haosen Xiang invoked the many recollections of the cancer patients who share their joys and celebrations of their family lives with us as they pass through the various corridors of a cancer hospital.We as cancer care providers are, privileged to be recipients of a patient's inner thoughts/feelings besides attending to their physical ailments.Its an enriching experience albeit the package includes sharing the patient's pain and family's grief at times that makes the doctors as human as the lives in other room are.