In 1999 my father was diagnosed as having rectal cancer. My experiences as a caregiver gave me insight into the significance of a good physician-patient relationship and I was heartened by the care my father received. I developed a great admiration for his physician’s ability to verbalize both good and bad news, neither giving unrealistic hope nor losing faith. I saw the comfort my father felt when treated respectfully, particularly the dignity of being asked to participate in the decision-making process. It was only as I watched my father struggle with illness that I truly appreciated the impact that a physician can make on the lives patients and caregivers.
To this day each patient interaction, regardless of their disease, prompts a brief memory of my father and his fight with cancer. These very same memories inspire me to strive for excellence not only in honor of his memory, but for the thousands of memories still to be made by my patients for their loved ones.