30th Annual Jonathan J. King Lectureship

Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP
When Breath Becomes Air: A Conversation with Lucy Kalanithi
Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 5:30pm
Live Webinar - Details TBA


The Vision of Jonathan J. King

Three weeks before his death, Jonathan King defined the key messages he wished to bring to the attention of the medical community through these lectures.

  • The patient is your client and should be treated with respect. Seek out and give full weight to your patient’s suggestions and opinions on treatments. Never, ever treat your patient as an object or as a second class citizen.
  • Empathize. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes as much as you can, recognizing that a fatal or harsh diagnosis separates the patient from “ordinary” people.
  • Foster the patient’s feelings of control and hope, however small they appear scientifically.
  • Base this on a foundation of honesty. In other words, tell the whole truth from the start, but don’t fear or disparage your patient’s drive for alternatives; help assure they are sensible.
  • Help and urge the patient to build a support system. Urge the patient to bring a companion to office visits and other important events.
  • Encourage the patient to consult other sources of information (including other doctors) and always make medical records available.
  • Expect patients with a poor prognosis to alternate between “frantic” search for solutions followed by calm commitment to a plan. Be patient when your patient is frantic.
  • Make every extra positive gesture. They boost morale enormously and ease the feeling of being alone. Thoughtless comments rankle, and are likewise magnified.
  • Make physical surroundings and institutional arrangements — lighting, food, etc. — as pleasant as possible.
  • Support efforts to speed up attempts to apply promising but unproven treatments for patients with a fatal diagnosis.

Jonathan King Clip


Full Version: Jonathan King Ethics Class

(audio will require headphones or turning up volume setting)

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