Recently the media has focused on Nelson Mandela’s illness with reporting on the need for palliative care.

Nelson Mandela’s Illness Puts Spotlight on Palliative Care

I couldn’t agree more. As physicians, we need to do a better job educating the public on the role of Palliative Medicine. Too many patients hold the perception that palliative care is only for terminal patients who are too weak or too confused to help themselves. In reality, Palliative Care is for anyone who wants to die on their own terms and ensure their end of life wishes are respected. . Palliative care physicians are trained to deal with many of home care and end of life issues. The support they provide to patients and families is invaluable. Many oncologists such as myself are committed to getting palliative care involved with our patients sooner in their disease course – I can only hope the media coverage helps.

Dr. Norleena Gullett is a Radiation Oncologist at Erlanger Cancer Institute in Chattanooga, TN. In addition to her medical expertise, she strives to offer emotional, psychological, and spiritual support in her care for her patients. She prides herself on treating  you, the whole person, with the best care possible.