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Stanford University School of Medicine

VIP treatment: Med student explores the ethics of giving some patients special care

2675693445_3be73c7dae_zMedical students are often told to give patients “the best possible care.” This sounds like a straightforward directive, but knowing what this means and putting it into practice can be tricky.

Does the best possible care differ from the best care? If so, can doctors give every patient what they believe is the best care, or is it only feasible to give each patient the best care possible given the circumstances?

These are some of the questions that Ogochukwu Ezeoke of SUNY Upstate Medical University grapples with as a student observer in a cancer center. She reflects on this experience and shares what it's like to provide care for a privileged patient who flies in receive VIP treatment on the Aspiring Docs Diaries blog:

He was checked in now and would go through the admissions process as expediently as possible – in a busy Urgent Care Center – before being sent up to the top floor of the hospital where high profile patients often opted to stay. The floor provided an additional level of privacy that could prevent against undue attention to one familiar to the public eye. It served the additional purpose of removing the sometimes overwhelming markers of hospitalization: the pale, humourless walls that matched the paler curtains hiding a view that could grow burdensome; the antiseptic smell of a freshly cleaned floor that hung about long after its job was done; the reminder, by sound or sight that just behind a thin sheet lay another person fighting a similar or worse battle.

This thought had often been an uncomfortable but persistent shadow in the back of my mind: Shouldn’t this level of privacy and comfort be available to all patients?

Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of patient care, this thought-provoking piece raises several points worth mulling over. Give it a read.

Previously: Why physicians should consider patients’ privacy before recommending health, fitness apps.
Photo by Luiza Sanchez

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