For over 30 years, the law firm of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman has represented people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. We have worked closely with our clients and their families. We have also worked with treating physicians, clinicians, world-renowned researchers and scientists, and through our work, we have learned a lot about mesothelioma, and we have seen the evolution of mesothelioma treatment and care over the past three decades.
Today, the treatment and care of mesothelioma patients are often comprehensive and targeted at treating patients as a whole. The International Mesothelioma Program(IMP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has become an excellent example of a facility that embodies this philosophy and approach to treating mesothelioma patients. The IMP offers state-of-the art treatment, cutting edge research, and an extended network of support for patients and families. In terms of patient support, the IMP recognizes the need that patients have to talk directly with other patients about their experiences. To meet this need, the IMP has developed a “Patient Matching” program.
Patient Matching Program at the International Mesothelioma Program
Dr. David Sugarbaker is the founder and director of the International Mesothelioma Program in Boston, Massachusetts, and is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery. He possesses a great understanding of mesothelioma, but he also understands the devastating emotional effects this disease has on patients and their families. According to Dr. Sugarbaker, “Mesothelioma takes an emotional toll on patients and their families that cannot be underestimated; it can be nearly as significant as the disease itself.”
We all know that being faced with a serious, life threatening diagnosis such as mesothelioma can be frightening. Patients begin to wonder what treatments are available to them, how they will respond to treatment, what will the recuperation period be like and so forth. That is why the IMP has created the Patient Matching Program.
The Patient Matching Program connects current patients of the International Mesothelioma Program with survivors to help provide a more grounded perspective on the difficult and frightening prospects patients have to face when diagnosed with mesothelioma. We all know how comforting it can be to hear encouraging words from someone who has been in your position before, and the IMP attempts to accomplish that through this program.
The program attempts to match patients by gender, age, state and the type of treatment received; however, many patients connect over the telephone and with patients of either gender and any age from around the world, and strong bonds are often forged.
Mesothelioma Patient Matching Program Grows Exponentially
Doug Burnett, a farmer in Western Massachusetts, underwent surgery in early February of 2006. Since then, he has been paired with more than 20 people from Florida to Israel. He states that he and other patients often compare notes on medications and the symptoms they are experiencing. Mr. Burnett stated, “We all need to pull together to get through this…I’m happy to do whatever I can to help.”
Mr. Burnett has given new hope and perspective to current or incoming patients who will hopefully give a sense of hope to a new generation of patients as the IMP continues to further its goal to provide mesothelioma patients with longer, healthier lives.