Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The ultimate spin doctor

"Is my treatment working?" The Cheerful Oncologist delivers the news to his patient:
Obviously my job is easy if the report is reassuring, but what if the cancer has not responded to therapy? When an x-ray reveals a meager response, how does an oncologist share this information without delivering a crushing blow to the hopes of his patient? The truth is, the manner in which I counsel a patient is one of the little-known quirks of the field of cancer care. Depending upon my facial expression, my body language or my demeanor in general, my answer - even if it contains discouraging news - may still calm the anxious face in front of me. Like an actor I may choose the role I wish to play that day - rescuer or villain, optimist or cynic. I can attach my own personal slant to the interpretation of the x-rays that may cause the patient to vow to fight on, or simply give up.

On this day - strange but true - I am the ultimate spin doctor.

(This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite blogs. Each post is a gem.)
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