EOLPodcast

Ep. 309 A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion with Joseph Stern MD

Learn how his sister’s illness and death made this neurosurgeon a better doctor.

My guest Dr. Joseph Stern is a partner in the country’s largest neurosurgical group practice in Greensboro, North Carolina. While he has frequently worked with patients and families facing life-limiting illness, his experiences at the bedside of his sister during her nearly one-year ordeal with leukemia, changed everything for him. He shares how his own medical practice was affected by what he learned about the patient’s perspective on end-of-life care and how he envisions our medical system needs to shift in order to improve the care being offered to all patients. He is the author of Grief Connects Us: A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion. Learn more about his work at his website:

www.JosephSternMD.com

Get the book here.

Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • The shock Dr. Stern experienced when viewing medical care through the eyes of a terminal patient
  • Why he wished his sister’s doctors had discussed her terminal prognosis with her
  • How to balance hope with reality when facing terminal illness
  • The additional lessons
  • he learned as healthcare proxy for his brother-in-law who suffered a brain aneurysm
  • The definition of “emotional agility” and why it should be taught to all medical students
  • How to improve empathy and communication skills for medical providers
  • Why palliative care should be started much earlier for all patients facing potential life-limiting illness
  • How Dr. Stern has changed his own approach to patients in light of what he has learned
  • How empathy and compassion can actually prevent burnout for medical providers rather than cause it

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu! Your contributions make all the difference!

End of Life, EOLPodcast, Spirituality

Ep. 237 Physician Burnout: Why Death Awareness Could Make a Difference

Learn how death-denial may contribute to physician burnout and how to change it.

In this solo episode I share my thoughts on the inner reasons why physicians may burn out and how increased death awareness could be a solution. Now more than ever we need death-informed education for all physicians, which would transform medical practice in general and especially end-of-life care.

Listen here:

Physician Burnout

This episode includes:

  • Survey showing that 44% of physicians report being burned out. largely due to external factors out of their control
  • Article by Dr. Keith Corl describes “moral injury” for physicians who are asked to practice in a way that violates their moral integrity
  • Multiple deeply-ingrained factors that arise from medical training and lead to lack of satisfaction in medical practice
  • 4 principles all med students should be taught:
    • Death is inevitable and not a failure
    • Death is a mystery we cannot control
    • Death makes life more precious
    • Dying is an opportunity for transformation
  • Doctors need to find balance between holding onto life and letting go when the time is right
  • Also need to learn to grieve over patient deaths in a positive way

Links mentioned in this episode:

If you enjoy this content please share it with others and consider leaving a review on iTunes! Thanks again to all supporters on my page at Patreon.com/eolu, especially my newest Patron  Donna Peizer. Your contributions make all the difference!