American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: A doctor’s story of her dying patient, who loved go

Monday June 12, 2017

A heartfelt account of a doctor’s involvement in an elderly go-playing man’s transition to hospice was featured in The Washington Post 2017.06.11_WashPost-NM_Sangarlangkarn_mainrecently reports Gwen Patton.  Dr. Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn tells the story of the bond she formed with her patient, pointing out the “struggle to provide continuity of care despite multiple hand-offs” that physicians face today.  Through her account, readers come to learn about Dr. Sangarlangkarn’s patient, Roger, “the man who loved go.”  Slowly dying from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Roger was an eccentric man without many friends.  Initially viewing Roger neither as her patient nor as her friend, Dr. Aroonsiri recounts her growing friendship with the man, coming to understand his childhood background, religious views, and his love for the game of go.
As Roger’s condition worsened, Dr. Aroonsiri was faced with the challenge of telling her friend that he was dying.  She came to learn firsthand the importance for today’s healthcare providers to connect with their patients on a “meaningful level”.
In the end, Dr. Aroonsiri expressed her appreciation for establishing a close relationship with her patient.  She explained to her colleague, Ben, that she was grateful to take care of Roger since “He doesn’t really have a friend to advocate for him.”  To which Ben replied, “Well, he does.  You are his friend.”
- Brian Kirby; graphic by Brett Ryder/Health Affairs
Categories: Go Spotting
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