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Kimryn Rathmell: I was at a loss for words, but I decided to share a thread
Nov 29, 2023, 16:54

Kimryn Rathmell: I was at a loss for words, but I decided to share a thread

Kimryn Rathmell, Chair of the Department of Medicine, Physician-in-Chief at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, shared on Twitter:

“Cancer impacts every family and community, and it is time to End Cancer As We Know It. My family and I have been overwhelmed by the support in the wake of this announcement – thank you! I was at a loss for words, but I decided to share a thread.

On Friday, I knew the announcement was coming, and I was on oncology service, so I rounded with one of our amazing Nurse Practitioners early, at 6 a.m. They, and thousands of others, come in that early EVERY DAY to care for cancer patients.

That morning, we sent a patient to go Hospital at Home, adjusted meds, explained procedures, talked through short- and long-term goals, and spent time with family members to help them transition to palliative care. Co-rounding with the RN was key.

At 8 a.m., I had a monthly Medicine leadership meeting with division directors and clinical leaders who have dedicated their careers to advancing human health. Our topics: Quality, Budget, Hematology/Oncology Strategy. The theme: stronger through interdisciplinary approaches.

As the news dropped, I was so glad to be with this group – individual sources of support, and resources to apply that interdisciplinary approach as we End Cancer As We Know It – championing for human health, for value in science, and for lifelong learning and unbridled curiosity.

Then, I had to tell the R^2 lab. I could not ask for a more supportive, fun, enthusiastic, and committed partner than Jeff Rathmell who flew back to be here (thank you Huntsman Cancer Institute for letting him cancel) for the announcement, so that we could be there for our lab people.

Many had heard. But these PhD students, postdocs, clinical fellows, staff, and junior faculty are the foundation and future of discovery. They will End Cancer As We Know It. To a person, they are brilliant, committed and resourceful. When they cheered, it meant the world.

The rest of the day was filled with wonderful calls and texts from friends, and emails from all over the cancer, science and medicine communities. These were peppered with the normal work of recruiting, engaging community members through our development officers, and consults…

With a talented oncology fellow, we fielded consults with cancer patients all over the hospital. Some scared, hearing the word cancer for the first time, and some long-time cancer warriors having a complication or procedure. All kinds of issues and questions, but one theme:

Everyone wants to get home to their family. Everyone wants a different experience than this. They want to be healthy again, they want to End Cancer As We Know It.

At 5:30 p.m., the same NP and I ran through the patients, events and changes, a new admission, and I went to see a patient who had been soundly sleeping at 6 a.m. The patient’s resilience, gratitude, earnestness, and hope for an outcome that rids them of their cancer was palpable. And when I left their room, saying I had a new assignment and another doctor would be there tomorrow, they said, “Thanks Doc, Go get ‘em!”

So, I will. Together, we are up to the challenge. From students, scientists, nurses and doctors, to advocates, funders, and partners from all of society. For all the cancer patients out there today, and those who will learn about their cancer tomorrow, I’m ready to go get ‘em!”

Source: Kimryn Rathmell/Twitter