Fighting against cancer
« The oncology department of the Pitié-Salpêtrière is unfortunately often the last chance. But many new drugs and molecules are also tested there. This gives hope and a better chance of healing.
It is true, it’s been a while since I stopped fighting against cancer but rather fight against death. Early on, I stopped seeing the simple cases, I became department head at the age of 34.
Why do I hate cancer? It is my everyday enemy. I abhor it. First, because it causes terrible suffering, physical and moral. It disfigures and mutilates the body. It is the most fearsome enemy that you can imagine. Because its strength is the very strength of the patient’s life. A cancerous cell has 30,000 genes, it is as powerful as the other cells of the patient. It has but one goal: to ensure its survival, even if this means the patient’s death. This disease does not allow you to rest, or lower your guard.
The practice of medicine
Medicine in my practice does not imply only knowledge but also and above all human relationships and respect for the dignity of the patient. The status of patient does not deprive someone of his/her freedom, which comes from knowledge.
In this activity, there is a strong demand for information to the sick . A welcome booklet is given them upon their hospitalization. It explains and presents the department, the people who work there, the treatments and side effects of the disease as well as the medical terms that may seem obscure. It is a department where we speak and explain. Because words are powerful, they can hurt and kill. But they can also heal the wounds and ward off anxiety.
The relationship with the patient
Each relationship is unique because each clinical situation, each patient is different. It is not possible to apply the same principles to everybody. There are no rules in the announcement of the disease. My only concern is not to hurt. There are various ways to tell someone that he or she is going to die, rather than bluntly telling him or her the truth »
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