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    "The Healer’s Art," by Stephen Dark 

    University of Utah Health  
    The Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards: General Staff Writing 

    “The Healer’s Art” grew out of a series of conversations with oncologist Laura Lambert, MD, who specializes in appendiceal cancer surgeries at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah. She also runs the residents’ surgery program at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine University of Utah. Those conversations became a road map through topics rarely heard about in medicine and surgery: self-doubt, the quality of listening to a patient, the role of palliative care and hospice in surgery, and most of all, encoding hope into advanced cancer patient care. Lambert’s story teaches readers that in modern medicine, the biggest casualty in the push for profit and specialization can be that we lose sight of the individuality of our patients. As Natalie Hardy says at the story’s end, for Lambert the privilege of working in medicine is only deserved when you remember the totality of your patient. “You take care of the body, but you also take care of the soul.” The goal of this piece is to humanize care delivery, including surgery, and reveal some of those less-considered topics in medicine through powerful storytelling. Primarily, we want the story to resonate with readers, that it helps them see care providers in a more wholistic light; also, that physicians and trainees see how impactful it is for doctors to take care of the whole patient and be a source of hope. 
    What was the most impactful part of your entry? 
    One of the story’s subjects, Dr. Lambert, best captures its impact: “I cannot tell you how many random people have come up to me in the hospital or at church to say they read the story and how moved they were and thank me for the work that I do. They usually say that they have shared it with other people. I know that patients who have read it want to be seen by me. I think it gives them hope.” 
    What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience? 
    A story like this confirms that we can rarely truly understand a story, even about an individual, through the eyes of that individual. For this story, Lambert’s competing weight-lifter husband, Joe, a Native American life coach for the underprivileged; former colleagues; parents and relatives; and students provide a fuller picture. Perhaps most impactfully, the perspective of a patient’s family who interacted with Lambert keeps the story down to earth and makes it real. 
    Contact: Nafisa Masud