We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Perspectives on Care at the Close of Life |

Care of the Dying Doctor On the Other End of the Stethoscope

Erik Fromme, MD; J. Andrew Billings, MD
JAMA. 2003;290(15):2048-2055. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.2048.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

The challenges of caring for a dying doctor reflect both common issues in helping the terminally ill and unique problems in working with a physician-patient. The dying doctor must deal with a familiar environment and set of problems from a radically different perspective and must negotiate overlapping and conflicting personal and professional roles. Some of the cardinal virtues of physicians—professional identity, expertise, perfectionism, selflessness, and stoicism—may pose both strengths and liabilities in the patient's role. The treating physicians may also encounter new strains in caring for a colleague. They must guard against both overinvolvement and underinvolvement, and, as with all dying persons, they must serve as a guide through unfamiliar territory for dying patient and family—a companion who is not afraid to listen to or explore the most upsetting matters, a person who can speak frankly when others may be ignoring "the horse on the dining room table." The case of Dr B, an internist dying of myelofibrosis and congestive heart failure, whose son is also a physician, offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and to draw lessons about how to best care for fellow physicians at a time of great need. We suggest strategies for negotiating the patient-physician relationship when the patient is also a physician.

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

15 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections

Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience
Initiating End-of-Life Discussions With Seriously Ill Patients: Addressing the “Elephant in the Room”

Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience
Terminal Care