A growing discipline, palliative care medicine remains underutilized. Studies suggest that patients and providers commonly confuse palliative care with end-of-life care.
In this episode, Dr. Liu is joined by Dr. Sunita Puri, Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center & Chan School of Medicine and author of That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour. During their discussion, Dr. Puri explains how fears related to misconceptions about palliative care can rob patients of their opportunity to engage in important conversations about living with chronic disease. As in her book, Dr. Puri uses stories to illustrate that palliative medicine moves its focus away from cures – focusing instead on questions regarding quality of life – about symptom management, hope, and what a ‘miracle’ might really mean.
About our Guest, Sunita Puri, M.D.
Dr. Sunita Puri is the Program Director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center & Chan School of Medicine, where she is also an associate professor of clinical medicine. A graduate of Yale University, she completed medical school and residency training in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco followed by fellowship training in palliative medicine at Stanford. She is the author of That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour, a critically acclaimed literary memoir examining her journey to the practice of palliative medicine, and her quest to help patients and families redefine what it means to live and die well in the face of serious illness. She is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Her writing and book have been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, JAMA, the Atlantic, NPR, India Today, the Asian Age, the Oncology Times, and, forthcoming, the New Yorker.
In 2019, the Guardian made a mini-documentary of her work in palliative medicine which has been viewed nearly 3 million times. She has been interviewed on the PBS Cristian Amanpour show, at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, ZDogg MD’s show, and numerous podcasts. In 2018, she was awarded the Etz Chaim Tree of Life Award from the USC School of Medicine, awarded annually to a member of the faculty who, in the eyes of the campus community, models and provides humanistic and compassionate care. She has taught medical memoir and literary nonfiction to medical students and residents, and has delivered talks about palliative medicine, the centrality of narrative and storytelling in medicine, and physician well-being in forums around the world.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Interweaving evocative stories of Puri’s family and the patients she cares for, That Good Night is a stunning meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well, arming readers with information that will transform how we communicate with our doctors about what matters most to us.