When the Most cancers Physician Leaves

Just a few have been offended. Unbeknownst to me, my hospital, ever environment friendly, had despatched out a letter informing sufferers of my departure and providing the choice to decide on any certainly one of eight different medical doctors who may assume their care — even earlier than I had an opportunity to inform a few of them in particular person. How have been they anticipated to decide on, and why hadn’t I advised them I used to be leaving, they demanded indignantly.

I felt the identical means as my sufferers, and shortly despatched out my very own follow-up letter providing to pick out a specialist for his or her particular sorts of most cancers, and telling my sufferers I might miss them.

I then spent weeks apologizing, in particular person, for the primary letter.

And although I all the time inform my sufferers the very best present I may ever hope for is their good well being, many introduced presents or playing cards.

One man in his 60s had simply acquired one other spherical of chemotherapy for a leukemia that stored coming again. I believe we each knew that the following time the leukemia returned, it might be right here to remain. After I entered his examination room, he greeted me the place my different affected person had left off.

“I can’t consider you’re leaving me.”

Earlier than I may even sit down, he handed me a plain brown bag with some white tissue paper poking out of the highest and urged me to take away its contents.

Inside was a drawing of the metal truss arches of Cleveland’s I-90 Innerbelt bridge, with town skyline rising above it.

“It’s stunning,” I advised him. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You may grasp this in your workplace wall in Miami,” he steered, beginning to cry. “So that you’ll all the time keep in mind Cleveland.” After which, Covid-19 precautions be damned, he walked over and gave me an enormous bear hug. After a couple of seconds we separated.

“No,” I mentioned, tearing up. “I’ll grasp up the image and all the time keep in mind you.”

Mikkael Sekeres (@mikkaelsekeres), previously the director of the leukemia program on the Cleveland Clinic, is the chief of the Division of Hematology, Sylvester Complete Most cancers Middle on the College of Miami Miller Faculty of Drugs and creator of When Blood Breaks Down: Life Lessons From Leukemia.”

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