This happened a while ago when I knew less. But I have been too embarrassed to tell anyone about it until now.
A man came to the oncology clinic for a consultation 3 weeks after an urgent colon resection for colon cancer. He looked elderly, with just a hatband rim of hair. His hands were those of a laborer. Indeed, he had worked to build many of my city’s buildings, including my hospital when it was being rebuilt.
He listened carefully and respectfully to everything I explained. Intermittently he would nod, and from behind a small smile utter, “hmmm,” “I see,” “yes, correct,” and “right.” These are excerpts from my assessment and plan for this patient:
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Meisenberg BR. The Cancer Consultation: A Patient Artfully Tutors an Oncologist. JAMA Oncol. Published online July 22, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.2523
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