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ARTICLE |

The Physician and the Dying Patient

Janet M. Kaye, PhD
JAMA. 1982;248(1):29. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330010013006.
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ABSTRACT

To the Editor.—  In my role as a counselor to patients with cancer, I have observed that physicians have great difficulty in relating to dying patients. Physicians have always been taught to cure rather than care; therefore, the dying patient presents a dilemma, as cure is impossible. However, it is important for the physician to remember that there is much he can offer a terminally ill patient with cancer.The physician must recognize the importance of communication. Most patients do not ask directly about their prognosis. They do so indirectly. The physician must realize that the fear of death is less important to the patient than fear of the process of dying. When reassured that good care is available and that abandonment by the physician will not occur, the patient will be more prepared to accept his prognosis. Visiting with the patient daily and talking with him honestly can be

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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.
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