The woman was terminally ill with advanced cancer, and the oncologist who had been treating her for three years thought the next step might be to deliver chemotherapy directly to her brain. It was a risky treatment that he knew would not, could not, help her.
When Dr. Diane Meier asked what he thought the futile therapy would accomplish, the oncologist replied, “I don’t want Judy to think I’m abandoning her.”
In a recent interview, Meier said, “Most physicians have no other strategies, no other arrows in their quiver beyond administering tests and treatments.”
“To avoid feeling that they’ve abandoned their patients, doctors …