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    I’m not sure this is the right place to post this but…..

    Has anyone experienced this?

    Dad’s 3 doctors, oncologist, neurological radiologist, and internist (who works at his retirement community) HAVE NOT called Mom at all. Not during Dad’s time on hospice (when we tried to call we were told they were on vacation… all of them?!) or since Dad’s passing on 3-26-13. Mom and I are upset about this. Even the vet contacts you when a pet passes away. Of course we are trying to let it go but…. come on…. a call? a note? something? anything???!!! Or is this standard protocol when someone dies “on their watch”?

    Dad’s cardiologist sent a beautiful note when she found out.

    What gives?



    PS: I’m sorry if this upsets anyone. I just needed to be able to discuss this. Thanks. <3


    Hi Michelle,

    I wish I had great words of wisdom on this topic but my experience in this space is limited to my family’s experience when my father died after a long battle with a serious blood disorder. When my dad chose to discontinue blood transfusions, essentially choosing no further treatment, his oncologist of many years called him before he died to say how much he had enjoyed their relationship which I have always thought was a very classy thing to do. But he had been my dad’s doctor for 14 years and as it turns out, my dad was one of his first “real” patients. He also sent a note to my mother after my father died.

    Maybe Jeff or others with more current experience can comment.

    I imagine it hurts that the people who were so involved in your dad’s cancer journey seem as though they don’t have time to offer condolences. When we as spouses and family are in the middle of the battle, these people (oncologists, internists, nurses) are so integrally involved in our lives and we depend on them so much to guide us through tough decisions. It would be painful for those people to just “drop off” when you and your mom’s journey through all of this is still going on.

    I hope you hear from them in some way in the next few days or weeks as it would bring some closure. I will keep you and your mom in my prayers. My dad has been gone for 13 years and I still miss him so I know how hard this is is.


    Catherine Poole

    I’m afraid like some human beings, some doctors are not so caring. Also, oncologists are often trained to detach from the patient once they go into hospice. It was their job to “cure” him and they can see it as a failure. It protects them from the often difficult task of losing someone. I would try to move on from this and don’t look back. The people who care showed it and they are the ones you can count on. And all of us here certainly care and feel for your loss.


    Hi Michelle,

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad passing. I followed your posts for a while. I lost my Dad too on 2/28. It never occurred to me that his doctors would write or call. I don’t know why I hadn’t even considered it until I read your post here. I wrote my own letter to his Oncologist and his Radiation Oncologist as we were the closest to them and told them about Dad’s last adventure. They were wonderful throughout his care and I just felt like reaching out to them. Both responded in their own hand written letters, Radiation Oncologist even sent me a poem that was healing to her when she lost her own Mother. I have not heard from any of Dad’s other doctors. Our Hospice Team sent notes and cards, etc.

    Thinking about you and your family.



    I am so grateful for everyone’s thoughts. It helps so much. Really. I’m hyper sensitive to anything that upsets Mom as I feel a need to provide a sense protection around her right now. It surprised both of us, but we are not dwelling on it. I will pass these thoughts on to her and hopefully she will find comfort from them. With love and warmth, Michelle


    Michelle- I can imagine this seems kind of strange to you but maybe my years as a ICU nurse can shed some light. I cared deeply for my patients & very quickly, very intimately “got to know” not only the patient(who may not even be awake) but family. I was deeply moved at times but it was so intense that you can not help but “protect” your mental health by keeping a professional distance. There were many times I cried going home from work over the death of a patient I worked so very hard to save. To continue to function in that environment you have to separate yourself from all the tragic things you witness. I loved my patients & hope I gave great comfort to both the patient & their families during their time of loss. Every MD handles things however it is they have to – to continue to give their patients the care they need & not totally burn out. It is very very difficult…I am not sure how oncologist really deal with all of it. But your focus is on your family & the love you have for each other & the healing that comes. I think your feelings are very normal. Not sure about them all “being on vacation” & your not being able to talk to someone during hospice. I would have thought your hospice nurse would have handled that for you all. Our hospice nurse was wonderful at the end & sent a lovely note after my father passed. I wish you great healing & so glad you are there for your family. Love, Karen

    Catherine Poole


    What a wonderful post. You made me rethink my own and realize perhaps I was a bit tough on the medical profession. I’ve always seen nursing personnel and hospice folks as “angels.” Doctors not so much at times. But you are ever so correct that many are caring but truly would burn out too soon if they connected with every patient on a close level. Working with this disease I lose a lot of people who become very dear to me and some I haven’t even met! But I have to develop some distance to keep my sanity. The gifts I receive from patients and caregivers are lessons in life I wouldn’t learn otherwise. They far outweigh the grief.

    I thank you for being one of those nurses that are so very special.

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