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Cancer Care Chronicles
February 10, 2022

Overcoming Our Red Dots and Confronting Racism From Patients

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Urology, Rogel Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
JAMA Oncol. 2022;8(4):518-519. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.7227

"So, is that the one you are?" the patient asked bluntly, their voice clear and authoritative. A smile had settled onto their face, and their temples creased. They were stationed in a slot near the corner of the preoperative holding area, and the usual collection of nurses, surgeons, anesthetists, and zooming hospital beds surrounded us. We had just met.

As is routine, I discussed the risks and benefits of their operation, ensured their understanding, and ultimately, obtained consent. The patient seemed relaxed despite the impending operation. Whether out of simple curiosity or because of my obvious ethnic appearance (I have brown skin, dark eyes, jet black hair, and a "difficult" name) the patient eventually probed me on my own background.

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