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

By: Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS

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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.

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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