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Code of Denial

Doctors have a dispassionate language for talking to really sick patients. But it doesn't work with people they love.

By Tena MoyerOctober 1, 1999 5:00 AM


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Three weeks after my sister, Andrea, is diagnosed with breast cancer I am running a breast cancer screening clinic. It is my first day of a new job, and all the patients are strangers to me. I have left a large hmo in Los Angeles to practice at this rural clinic in the mountains surrounding Idyllwild, California, because I wanted medicine to be more personal, more in touch with the lives of my patients. Now, suddenly, in ways unimagined, medicine has touched my life in a very personal way.

Full text of this article appears in Discover magazine.


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