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Video about neurosurgeon facing death nominated for Emmy

The short documentary by Stanford videographer Mark Hanlon captures Paul Kalanithi’s shifting perception of time while living with terminal cancer.

The School of Medicine’s video about neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi’s reflections on life while facing death from metastatic cancer has been nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy Award presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The video, “A strange relativity: Altered time for surgeon-turned-patient,” was nominated in the New Approaches: Arts, Lifestyle, Culture category, along with pieces by The New York Times, The Center for Investigative Reporting, National Geographic Magazine and PBS. The video was produced by Mark Hanlon, video director of the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs.

The video was an online companion to an essay by Kalanithi published in the spring 2015 issue of Stanford Medicine magazine. In the essay and the video, Kalanithi described how his perception of time changed as a first-time father and doctor-turned-patient facing a terminal diagnosis. Kalanithi, who never smoked, was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer at age 36 in May 2013. The essay and video were published just a few weeks before he died on March 9, 2015.

Hanlon produced, photographed and edited the video and wrote and performed the film score.

The full list of nominees is available online. The award presentation is Sept. 21 at Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.    

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

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