Michael Skolnik’s story sparked many emotions for me. I thought of how often we as health care providers don’t really listen to our patients and their families. We often assume that we know what is best for the patient because we have the scientific knowledge to understand their disease and how to manage it. At times, we push our own agendas and expect our patients will go along with whatever we recommend to them. We may even become irritated if they disagree with the plan or proposed procedure.
I think that Michael’s story shows how important stopping and listening is. Patients and their families have a right to decide what they feel is best and we do not have the right to take that away from them. As we brought up during a discussion today, it is even important to give patients the option of choosing no treatment or only supportive treatments rather than invasive procedures. It is important to remember that the goal for all patients isn’t cure, sometimes the goal is to maintain quality of life whatever that may mean to that individual.