Wednesday, May 21, 2008
When a Celebrity Gets Sick
Today on the Diane Rehm show, Dr. Deepa Subramaniam, Director of the Brain Tumor Center at Georgetown University Hospital, points out a difficulty faced when a person of notoriety, such as Senator Kennedy, is diagnosed with a serious condition. The media coverage makes it difficult for Kennedy and his family to contain their discussion about his condition amongst themselves and their medical team. Frank talk about his chance of survival, what will happen to him, how his cancer should be treated, is being played out in newspapers, on the radio, on TV, around the world. And Dr. Subramaniam mentions this can be added stress not just for Dr. Kennedy but for other people with malignant brain tumors as well. She notes the presence in the media of phrases like "grim diagnosis" and "survival rate of a year" in the media. That would be hard to hear if you had a malignant glioma, even if you had already heard it from your physician.