By Daniel B. Hinshaw, MD
Chair, 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Steering Committee
Those of us who live within the world of medicine too often assume that those outside the profession are unable to appreciate the complexities of the human interactions involved in the encounter between suffering patient and would-be healer. And yet, occasionally the careful observer who is also a gifted writer can examine the core struggles of both patient and healer, reflecting them back to us in a profound manner from which we can learn.
Margaret Edson, who worked during graduate school as a clerk in the cancer and AIDS unit of a research hospital, made that leap and produced a masterpiece, the play Wit, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1999. Wit takes place in the final hours in the life of an English professor dying of stage IV ovarian cancer.
We are very excited and fortunate to have Ms. Edson serve as one of our two Keynote Speakers at this year’s Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium. Using clips from the 2001 Emmy Award-winning film version of her play starring Emma Thompson, Ms. Edson will present a variety of educational strategies for using the wisdom of Wit to assist us in learning the oncology patient’s perspective in her talk, “Wit, Hex, Vin, Life, Death: Using the Play as a Teaching Tool.” After her presentation, she will be available to sign copies of the play.
I hope you will join us for this innovative and informative presentation on Friday, September 9, from 2:30 PM to 3:15 PM.
Dr. Hinshaw is a professor of surgery and consultant in palliative medicine at the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center and VA Ann Arbor Health Care System.
Editor's note: Ms. Edson is one of two esteemed Keynote Speakers at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium. Survivorship and cancer outcomes expert Dr. Smita Bhatia will give the other address.