Palliative care is care oriented toward relief of difficult symptoms usually but not always in patients with very advanced illness. Palliative medicine is a subspecialty of medicine that develops skills expertise techniques and practices to address difficult symptoms such as pain nausea and breathlessness. The first thing I want to know from a patient is their story. Who are they to whom do they belong whats their place who do they love and who loves them? What has their life work been about? How have they experienced their illness? How has it changed threatened and disrupted all of that. And I want to know what they hope for with the health and life that remains for them and what stands most in the way of them being able to continue to live in relationship with those they love and complete the work they have left to do. Then I can use judgment and discernment to apply the interventions that palliative medicine makes possible to help them in that process.
Dr. Farr Curlin, MD is a palliative medicine doctor who practices in Durham, NC. He is 45 years old and has been practicing for 19 years. Dr. Curlin is affiliated with The University of Chicago Medical Center.