Art of Caring
Rediscovering Humanity in Hospice and Palliative Care
Duc Chung, MD MBA FAAHPM
In my short time as a hospice and palliative physician, I learned to suppress grief. Images of death and dying were seemingly fleeting and routine. I taught myself to be stoic in family meetings, in front of rotating residents and fellows, as if to demonstrate that I can stay calm and balanced no matter the circumstances. I taught myself to be strong to provide a place of solace for grieving patients and families at the end of life. I also taught myself to leave difficult cases at the bedside so as to not burn myself out in our field. I prided myself in being unfazed by the emotional uncertainties and chaos that often enshrouded many of our complicated palliative care cases. For the most part, I felt impenetrable.