“Last spring, Janis’s new oncologist, Dr. Richard Penson, referred her to Dr. Vicki Jackson, the chief of Palliative Care at Mass General. The referral freaked out Janis a little. Was Dr. Penson trying to tell her that he didn’t think the treatment she was about to start would be successful? But Janis had read an article about palliative care and a relative had had a positive experience with it, so she agreed.
After meeting with Jackson, whom Janis calls Vicki, Janis realized that, contrary to common belief, palliative care is not synonymous with giving up hope. Nor does it represent an abandonment of patients by the physicians treating them. “I didn’t feel abandoned at all,” Janis says about Dr. Penson’s referral. “I felt more cared for.”” MORE