Thursday, April 3, 2008

Good news, bad news

We argued for hours. Literally. The family had to call the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Maryland. Our Chief Administrator gave an override. But in the end, it was worth it. Today the letter authorizing the tandem transplant arrived.

Delivering that news got me a hug and a kiss.

My other patient is a young adult. He was diagnosed with widely metastatic osteosarcoma almost 5 years ago. Although his tumor did not respond well to the chemotherapy, after truly heroic surgery (removing almost 90 tumor nodules from his lungs), he achieved a remission. Through two relapses, his life fell apart. But he has been in remission for the past year and had turned his life around. He was in college. He was living on his own. He was truly happy in clinic today.
Until I told him his CT scan showed a third relapse.

Thank God his grandmother was with him, so he didn’t have to drive home alone.

I hope he’s OK tonight.

5 comments:

Corrine Chua said...

How do you deal with sad things like this, this often? If it were me and I had to relay bad news to people as part of my job, I would be so depressed. :(

I hope he will be OK.

Kathleen Blanchard said...

Hi Dr. David,

This is an all too familiar story isn't it? My first reaction was a whince. God Bless him!
Kathleen

Doctor David said...

Corrine, it's tough to give people news like that. But it's wonderful to deliver good news, so it balances out. I just try to focus on the good, and use the bad as inspiration when I get back to the lab.

Thanks for your kind words, Kathleen.

Jaime said...

Hi there,
My heart sank when I read about the young man. I, too, would have a very similar reaction to yours (and probably also blog about it). Going into peds onc research, for me, it's a struggle sometimes to find optimism - but I do.

Doctor David said...

Hi Jaime,
Optimism can always be there, I agree. Hell, if I wasn't a naturally optimistic person, there's no way I could take care of these kids. I just assume I'm going to cure each and every one of them.

You've picked a great field! There's nothing I'd rather do than be involved in pediatric oncology.