The following article was written by Dr. Budwany, with editorial assistance from his mentor, Dr. Forner.

My interest in palliative medicine piqued as I sat at the bedside of my grandfather during his last few weeks of life. He was one of the 10-20 percent of cancer patients who could not obtain pain relief from medical management alone; the knowledge and skill set of the pain medicine-trained and palliative medicine-trained anesthesiologist finally brought him relief. This anesthesiologist saw my grandfather’s struggle, and he and his interdisciplinary team gave to each of us comfort, peace and dignity during his last days.

Palliative medicine is the medical subspecialty that focuses on the treatment of seriously ill patients and their families. For clarification purposes, palliative care is patient- and family-centered care that attempts to optimize quality of life and minimize burden...

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