living your best to the end

Doctor learns from his mother: the patient

Health care professionals see healthcare differently when it gets personal Dr. David Lee Scher has 25 years of clinical medical experience as cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist, hospital department administrator, clinical trial investigator, IRB Chair, and Medicare committee representative.         You’d be forgiven if you assumed he’d have few surprises in store in treating patients, so when his 78-year old mother was diagnosed with both lung and pancreaticcancer, he fully expected her to freak right out. Not so. “She’s fine with the cancer and treatment. What she really hates is the loss of independence that comes with the oxygen tank she’s attached to. She calls it her ‘dog on a leash I have to walk around with.’ It made me sensitive for the first time that the small things affecting activities of daily living might mean more to a patient than facing a terminal illness.” Until recently, Scher’s mother worked, and was actively involved in medical decision. Another adjustment: she’s now delegated most of those decisions over to her son, who always keeps his sibs in the loop. “My mom recognized that the chemo’s affected her thinking and processing abilities.” As the doctor amongst three sibs, David is entrusted with the medical aspects. “My twin, who lives nearer, takes care of some of her day to day needs and our younger sister who’s in the business sector oversees important financial decisions.” Dr. Scher recognizes how lucky his mother is to have that available expertise and division of labour; “I know there are often fights and frustration amongst sibs who may not have any of those skill sets...