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Opinion: Afraid to speak up to medical power

The New York Times, February 15, 2013

I was not the only doctor that he confided to. But what I quickly learned was that none of us was eager to broach the topic of stopping treatment with his primary cancer doctor. That doctor was a rising superstar in the world of oncology, a brilliant physician-researcher who had helped discover treatments for other cancers and who had been recruited to lead our hospital's then lackluster cancer center. Within a few months of the doctor's arrival, the once sleepy department began offering a dazzling array of experimental drugs. Calls came in from outside doctors eager to send their patients in for treatment, and every patient who was seen was promptly enrolled in one of more than a dozen well-documented treatment protocols. But now, no doctors felt comfortable suggesting anything but the most cutting-edge, aggressive treatments.