Years of Challenge: A Family Lives with Chronic Illness: Discussion of Dr. Rothenberg’s Paper

  • John Sargent
Part of the The Downstate Series of Research in Psychiatry and Psychology book series (DSRPP, volume 4)


It has been a homily in medicine that we must learn from our patients. It is rare, though, that we have an opportunity as excellent as that which Dr. Rothenberg and the family he interviews offer us today. I would first like to comment on Dr. Rothenberg’s approach to the parents and their son. He is warm, friendly and direct with the family. His respectful questioning permits them to describe openly and poignantly their experience over the previous six years and to relate directly the difficulties they have lived through and continue to face. I would also like to stress that Dr. Rothenberg is an informed interviewer. He brings an appreciation of the potential effects of an illness of this magnitude on an entire family to the interview. He then amplifies this knowledge immensely by gathering and organizing information from this family’s physicians. This prior understanding enables him to present, through the interview, the challenges, disappointments and triumphs of their lives. I would strongly encourage those who would support families through similar experiences to emulate Dr. Rothenberg’s depth of understanding of the home environment of the chronically ill child and his warm, respectful manner in meeting with them.


Chronic Illness Medical Care System Respectful Manner Prior Understanding Expert Determination 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sargent
    • 1
  1. 1.Philadelphia Child Guidance ClinicPhiladelphiaUSA

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