Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 2910–2911 | Cite as

A Phone Call

  • Cosimo Nicola StornioloEmail author
Healing Arts

My next inbox message read, “The patient wants the doctor to go on the internet and find him a cure. Patient declines scheduling appointment at this time.”

That was the note from the nurse coordinator, who had dutifully called Stan after his recent hospital stay for abdominal pain and a laparoscopic biopsy of an abdominal wall mass. The news wasn’t good—he had recurrent colon cancer, and it was metastatic. Stan understood the implications: palliative options, no cure, a terminal diagnosis. His typically dry sense of humor had turned a bit dark in his phone message.

I scanned the nurse’s notes once more, then clicked complete. It was an FYI, after all. Our office routinely called patients after a hospitalization, documented any needs, encouraged a one-week follow-up. Stan had declined the visit; he wasn’t in pain, he had no medication or testing needs, and he had no questions for me, his PCP, that wouldn’t be answered by an oncology visit in a few weeks. Stan didn’t need me right now,...


Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Samaritan Health ServicesSamaritan Internal MedicineCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations