Dementia is not something we doctors talk much about. We all have many patients with dementia — and more every year — but we never seem to chat about it the way we discuss kidney disease or cancer treatment. Why the silence?
Perhaps it’s the invisibility of the illness, especially in its earlier stages, or the difficulty of treatment. I suspect, though, that our reticence stems from deeper issues. For doctors, cognitive currency is our only currency. The idea of the mind vanishing is more petrifying than much of the bodily devastation we are privy to.
—Danielle Ofri is an associate professor of medicine at New York University and Bellevue Hospital. She is the editor of the Bellevue Literary Review and the author of “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine.”
Read Dr. Ofri’s article “The Silence of Doctors Around Alzheimer’s” in The New York Times.