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When the cancer doctor leaves

Some were angry. Without my knowledge, my hospital was so efficient that I had the option of letting patients know my departure and choosing one of the other eight doctors who could take care of them. I sent you a letter to provide. Man. They resented and demanded how they were expected to choose and why I didn’t tell them to leave.

I felt the same as the patient and immediately sent my follow-up letter telling me that I chose a particular type of cancer specialist and didn’t want to see the patient.

Then I spent weeks directly apologizing for the first letter.

And I always tell patients that the best gift I can hope for is their health, but many have brought gifts and cards.

A man in his 60s had just received another chemotherapy because of his persistent leukemia. I think we knew that the next time the leukemia recurred, we would stay here. When I entered his office, he greeted me from where my other patient was interrupted.

“I can’t believe you’re leaving me.”

Before I sat down, he handed me a plain brown bag with white tissue paper sticking out from above and urged me to remove the contents.

Inside is a diagram of the steel truss arch of the Cleveland I-90 Inner Belt Bridge, above which the city skyline rises.

“It’s beautiful,” I told him. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You can hang this on the wall of your Miami office,” he began to cry. “So you will always remember Cleveland.” And when he took precautions for Covid-19, he walked and gave me a giant bear hug. A few seconds later we broke up.

“No,” I said with tears. “I cut the photo and always remember you.”

Mikkael Sekeres (@mikkaelsekeres), a former director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Leukemia Program, is the Head of Hematology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “”When Blood Collapses: Life Lessons from Leukemia.. “

When the cancer doctor leaves

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