shutterstock_287499203 “Either way, no matter what we do, you’ll live less than 12 months, probably less than nine. Even if we were in the United States, your disease is incurable.” He nodded slowly in understanding. Jean Dominique was only in his 40s and had teenagers at home. “We can treat your pain and other symptoms, but we can’t do anything to treat the ...

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“Doctor, I have trouble breathing when I walk up stairs, and I cannot lie flat in bed, so I have to sleep sitting in a chair. I feel much worse than before I got pregnant.” I recognized the diagnosis at that point, but I continued the appointment to confirm my suspicions and to revel in the art of medicine. I listened to the young woman’s lungs, full of crackles from fluid backup, ...

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“The patient’s pain is still 9/10, doctor. We’ve already given morphine IV and then changed to Dilaudid IV and then we increased the dose of Dilaudid. Can we give it every two hours instead of every three hours?” the nurse asks me over the telephone. I sigh heavily into the receiver, unsure what to do, feeling more like a drug dealer than a doctor. The patient is on horse-sized doses ...

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