My doctor calls me by my first name
Patients, especially those diagnosed early, now live years after being diagnosed with cancer. Some patients, despite the unfavorable prognosis or delayed diagnosis, survive much longer than expected. These patients have been termed "exceptional patients". Why are some patients an exception? What did the study show?
These patients described, in a study, a savior-physician who was sensitive to their emotional needs. Some patients reported that the doctor's behavior is as important as his medical knowledge. Doctors were the most important parameter of their treatment!
The doctor saw me "as Nikos" some patients said, and others stated that their doctor viewed them as if they were a son or daughter! Sympathy, understanding, availability, honesty, sensitivity and calmness, decisiveness, happy mood, combined with the presence of the doctor when patients need him, were the qualities described by the patients of their doctor.
The extraordinary, beyond the usual, doctor was described as professional and determined, approaching the patient with sensitivity and on a personal level. The present study highlighted the value of the unique relationship between physicians and patients. The study showed that this unique relationship can play a major role in patient survival!
- Frenkel M et al. Exceptional patients and communication in cancer care – are we missing another survival factor? Supportive Care in Cancer 2016;24:4249-4255.