Today, The Cheerful Oncologist reminded me why he was one of my role models when I first started blogging, as he takes on the issue of palliative care:
As often as rain falls from the skies do patients reach that point in their illness where their doctor says “There is nothing more I can do for you.”
If you ever hear that phrase, remember this: it is a lie. Physicians who tell their patients this may actually mean “I’m getting depressed watching you die and want to avoid you,” or they may think of illness as a contest of skill where only victory has any value, and defeat must be acknowledged by immediate sacrifice of the vanquished.
If there is one single area where conventional medicine does not live up to its capabilities, it’s in the area of palliative care in cancer or other deadly diseases after known curative treatment has been exhausted. Perhaps if more doctors learned better palliative care, fewer patients would feel abandoned by conventional medicine and thus fewer would be susceptible to the siren call of quackery.