Expanding Your Lanes

In our December 2019 issue, outgoing Editor-in-Chief Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, penned his final Editor’s Corner, “My Patients, My Lanes,” in which he defined the lanes of his health care highway – the issues for which he feels he has a professional, moral, and ethical obligation to have an opinion. Several readers wrote in to echo Dr. Sekeres’ sentiments. Here, one reader describes the “lanes” that she finds herself in as a health care provider.

I am a hematologist/oncologist practicing in California and wanted to express my appreciation for Dr. Sekeres’ article, “My Patients, My Lanes.” What a beautifully written article. I agree completely and have had these same thoughts since training at the University of California, Davis, 20 years ago.

Gun violence is a public health problem, and we as physicians should be at the forefront of policy making for the reasons he expressed.

I appreciate Dr. Sekeres’ statement about being “reluctantly privy” to the ugliness that many people feel free now to express. During patient encounters, I want to maintain a respectful, trusting doctor-patient relationship and make sure that my patients know that a visit with me is a safe space to talk openly. Still, if I hear misogynistic, racist, or homophobic speech, I feel an obligation to address it. To ignore it would do a disservice to both of us.

Again, thank you to Dr. Sekeres for writing the column.

Kathleen April Kennedy, MD
San Luis Obispo, CA