Several years ago, I was sitting at the gate in a Washington, DC, airport when I got a call on my cell. A close friend of one of my patients wanted to let me know that Lara (not her real name) had died after a long and difficult course of throat cancer. Lara was relatively young, a kind, brilliant and incredibly thoughtful woman, and I'd had a deep patient-physician relationship with her, given all that she'd been through ...

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