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June 19, 2007

Disagreeing With The Doctor

Disagreeing With The Doctor

Sandeep Jauhar is a doctor who treats heart disease - the leading cause death in the United States.

Since he began his work as an intern, he has been struck by the chasm that often separates doctors and patients when it comes to treatment options. He experienced what it's like to be on the other side of that chasm when his wife needed surgery while she was pregnant.

He and his wife wanted one kind of surgery - her doctors recommended another. He still struggles daily with the question of when to respect patients' wishes, and when to overrule.

Training In Mortality

Margaret Maytan contacted The Story recently, writing: I am a physician who, while living in Stockholm in 1998, became suddenly ill with the "flesh-eating bacteria."

Margaret endured 14 days of agony, hallucinations and unconsciousness. She had a cardiac arrest and total organ shutdown. Despite a mortality rate of 60-70% and being prepared for amputation, Margaret survived the ordeal intact and has found that every day since then has been a bonus. Her experience has also informed her psychiatric work with cancer patients: she knows first hand what it's like to confront mortality.

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