Forming a Partnership with the Medical Team

It is our duty as physicians to estimate probabilities and to discipline expectations; but leading away from probabilities there are paths of possibilities, toward which it is our duty to hold aloft the light, and the name of that light is hope.

—Karl Menninger The Vital Balance it is vitally important that parents and the healthcare team establish and maintain a relationship based on excellent medical care, good communication, and caring. In this partnership, trust is paramount. Unlike children with some other diseases, children with leukemia spend years being treated primarily on an outpatient basis. Physicians rely on parents to make and keep appointments, give the proper medicines at the appropriate times, prepare the child for procedures, and be vigilant in noticing any illness or drug side effect. Parents rely on physicians for medical knowledge, expertise in performing procedures, good judgment, caring, and clear communication. It is a delicate dance that spans years of trauma and emotional upheaval.

A climate of cooperation and respect between the healthcare team and parents allows children to thrive. This chapter explores ways to create and maintain that environment.

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