How My Oldest Patients Are Also My Teachers

An excerpt from the NYT essay ‘Learning From My Oldest Patients’

How My Oldest Patients Are Also My Teachers

It is with a good deal of trepidation that I start any new medication in my patients who are very old, for fear of disrupting the myriad forces of genetics and environment that have allowed them to live so long.

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Such was the case for the 90-year-old patient sitting in front of me, who had been getting an injection every three weeks to treat her anemia. I had started her on the drug six months ago, and whenever she came for a visit, I took seriously my responsibility to make sure both that she was benefiting from it, and that it wasn’t affecting her quality of life.

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Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS

Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, has more than a decade of medical experience in medical oncology and hematology. He is the Director of the Leukemia Program at Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute.
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