Never deny a diagnosis, but do deny the negative verdict that might go with it.
-Norman Cousins

From "Love, Medicine and Miracles" by Bernie Siegel:

They have no right to do so, but some physicians try to take charge of a patient's life as well as the technical details of treatment, like a grownup dominating a child-and the sad truth is that many patients let them. Physicians are created as much by their patients as by their training, and most patients want to give up all decisions to the omnipotent father figure.

Participation in the decision-making process, more than any other factor, determines the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. The exceptional patient wants to share responsibility for life and treatment, and doctors who encourage that attitude can help their patients heal faster....

Hope comes about largely as a result of the patient's confidence and trust in the healer. This bond is forged in many ways. Certain essentials-compassion, acceptance, availability, a willingness to provide information-are obvious. That is why preoperative visits by the surgical team are so important. They not only help the patient speed through the surgery but also speed recovery.

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