Views & Reviews

Patient commentary: Consider the person alongside the pathology

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 16 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4878
  1. Tessa Richards, patient and senior editor/patient partnership, The BMJ
  1. trichards{at}

My experience of being discussed at multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings backs Eigenmann’s view that someone who can present the patient’s perspective should be there.1 It also suggests that patients should be alerted to these meetings and might value the option to represent themselves.

As a three operation, 11 year survivor of metastatic adrenal cancer,2 I knew that it was likely to come back again one day. I dreaded annual scans and happily agreed to forgo them two years ago. This year, during reappraisal of my hyperparathyroidism, recurrence was detected.

The senior registrar broke the bad news gently by phone and mentioned that my case was due to be discussed at an MDT meeting. I asked whether I might be allowed to attend and be sent a copy of the scan results in advance. The consultant kindly agreed.

I sat at the back of the room, looking at my scans on the screens, listening to the thoughtful discussion between radiologists, oncologists, and …

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