Just read Dr. Gupta’s article “Why I changed my mind on weed” on CNN.com.
He admits to making an error in his 2009 TIME magazine article titled “Why I would vote No on Pot” and after doing his own extensive research, now supports the use of medical marijuana. I like this article for many reasons, primarily because Dr. Gupta is endorsing a drug that has long provided relief from cancer pain, and in my opinion, should be available to any cancer patient. Secondly, Dr. Gupta is apologizing and it’s a true apology. He acknowledges his stature in the public eye and admits that he did not think critically as a scientist and do the necessary research before writing his 2009 opinion.
As a physician about to leave training, his words really struck me.
“I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive…”
It is a call to action for all physicians. A reminder that we must listen to our patients first, and do our own research before rendering an opinion that could ultimately lead to suffering. As an oncologist, I commend Dr. Gupta for speaking out on this important topic and helping cancer patients everywhere. As a resident physician, I admire him for admitting to his mistakes and showing us what a true apology is, and providing me with a grave reminder to listen to my patients and apply a critical eye to accepted medical conventions.
Patient-focused treatment, and an individualized approach to oncology means Dr. Norleena Gullett is not just treating cancer, she's treating the whole person.