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Geriatricians: The Un-sung Heros of Medicine

From Mysa.com (San Antonio) comes an inspiring article by Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, Express-News Staff Writer, titled "Palliative-care doctor teaches other physicians to provide comfort as well as treatment."

A few posts back, I linked to my blog on the geriatrician shortage. Here's a terrific article that puts a face on a woman devoted to this unglamorous specialty. Well written and insightful, this article is a gem:

"Dr. Sandra E. Sanchez-Reilly walks down the hallway of the hospice unit at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. With her mane of wavy black hair and open, friendly face, she's a nurturing presence in a place where some spend their last days. 'How are you doing? You're all handsome today!' she exclaims, spying Armand Soliz, 57, sitting in a wheelchair in his room. A U.S. Coast Guard sweatshirt is pulled over his seriously bloated abdomen, the effect of years of drinking. Soliz, a Vietnam vet, has advanced liver disease; his skin is yellow. But when he sees Sanchez-Reilly, his face lights up in delight. He grasps her outstretched hand."

Read full article:

Related article: Geriatrician Shortage: How Do We Make Geriatrics More Attractive?

Comments

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Yes, it's so frustrating. My mother-in-law had a UTI and the infection had her very confused. That nearly landed her in a home earlier than necessary. We desperately need more geriatricians, but our society has to change it's values before that will happen. Thanks, Lisa, for the comment.

Thank you for this! The other important role Geriatricians play is understanding how illness affects our bodies as we get older.
MANY seniors suffer from depression for much too long before it's treated. Some seniors with urinary tract infections present to their family doctor with dementia type syptoms. That family doctor may presribe an assessment by a social worker to determine if a nursing home is needed, instead of presribing the necessary antibiotics for the infection!
Something's wrong when we pay our doctors by number of procedures performed instead of the RESULTS they receive.

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