That’s the title of a short Perspective article in NEJM this week:
I suppose we’ve all been asked that question: What would you do if it were your child, your mother, your brother, your husband? Sometimes I’ve asked people what they mean by this question — and been answered by puzzled looks saying, “What do you mean what do I mean? I just want to know what you would do if it were your kid!” People may ask this question because they reasonably assume that the option we’d choose for those we love the most is the best option and therefore the most appropriate for them. They may also be seeking to humanize us, to make our involvement personal. They’re entreating us to approach them or their relative not just as another case, but as a human being with as much value as our own sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. It’s another way of asking for guidance, a plea to share with them, as a partner, the heavy burden of decision making.
There are times I forget what an absolute privilege it is to be a physician. The level of trust people place in us is simply staggering. Questions like this haunt me more often than I like to think about. But I’ve never written about it as eloquently as David Korones does here.
Do yourself a favor and go read it. It won’t take long.