Clinician’s Heartbreak Helps Her Care for Seriously Ill Patients

“Loss in its varied forms so often occurs inch by inch, evolving within us,” says Claire Ankuda, a researcher and family physician in a recent piece about her growth as a clinician. In the article, Claire describes how dealing with a breakup with her fiancé gave her insight into the way loved ones of seriously ill patients slowly learn to cope as the patient’s health declines.

“As a physician, my first instinct has been to approach loss and grief like a wound. We might open it up some, irrigate it with sterile water, but then we expect healing and even stronger scar tissue to form, until pain resolves,” says Claire who describes learning about “gradual grief” from the caregivers of dementia patients.

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