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$42M gift aims at improving bedside manner

The New York Times, September 22, 2011

Carolyn Bucksbaum still bristles about an arrogant physician who brusquely dismissed her intuition about her ailment decades ago. It turned out she was right. The physician was wrong. "We all make mistakes," she said. "But he never even apologized." Years later, Ms. Bucksbaum and her husband, Matthew, would come under the care of Mark Siegler, MD, at the University of Chicago Medical Center, a doctor they found compassionate and humble. "He goes by Mark," Ms. Bucksbaum noted approvingly, "not 'Doctor.'" Medical students, they thought, could do well to emulate him. Now, the Bucksbaums are donating $42 million to the university to create an institute devoted to improving medical students' handling of the doctor-patient relationship. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, to be announced Thursday, will be led by Siegler. "To care for a patient," Dr. Siegler said, "you have to care about a patient." If it seems like a lot of money for teaching good bedside manners, researchers point to many studies that indicate a good rapport between doctors and patients strongly correlates with favorable health outcomes.