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Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Groopman conducted by Jeff Stryker.

To hear a Real Audio  stream of an interview with Dr. Jerome Groopman conducted by Jeff Stryker (pictured to the left) concerning Dr. Groopman's background and book Measure of Our Days, click on the picture on the left.

 

As a physician, Dr. Jerome Groopman has changed the lives of his patients and has furthered the cause of human dignity with his compassion and respect for the human life. Maintaining a deep belief in his Jewish faith, Dr. Groopman firmly believes, "God, whether positive, negative, or null, is an essential factor in the equation of dying." Dr. Groopmanís talent is being able to mix science with the sanctity of life, using both his head and his heart in dealing with each and every one of his patients. Dr. Groopman describes himself as,

"Ö a scientist who draws sustenance from a rational understanding of the natural world, I am also a person who views life in deeply spiritual terms. I perceive in the intricacy and beauty of science the wonder and gifts of God. I see in the patientís struggle to reclaim and reconstruct his life a process that enhances the sanctity of that life." Dr. Groopman stands out from among other physicians and he uses an old-fashioned country doctor approach in his car. He phones his patients at home and he wrestles to find space in his already daunting 

schedule to deal with any emergencies that arise. Besides reviewing medical records and squinting at slides under a microscope, Dr. Groopman also makes a point of listening and becoming integrated with his patientsí lives.  Dr. Groopman has learned much about death in treating his terminally ill patients, and he has come to learn that, "Ö life is not wrapped up in a neat package when we are ill and near death." Never forgetting the tragic experience that he had with his fatherís sudden death, Dr. Groopman wants the best for his patients and their loved ones, explaining that this is why he finds "Ö the time before death so precious, so worth fighting for, no matter what the length." However, Dr. Groopman realizes that there is a time to live and a time to die; many terminally ill patients fear that they will be abandoned by doctors and face unrelenting pain and complete dependence on others.  That is why Dr. Groopman says that, "A doctor working with a patient and the family can reassure the patient that he will be made comfortable and not be left hanging in a vegetative state. In 
almost every case, pain can be managed and the natural process of death takes over." "It is one of the physicians roles to try to make the process more peaceful and dignified."

Another important facet of the method in which Dr. Groopman works is the relationship that he has with his patients: he has a partnership with his patients. His motto is, "You work together. Itís neither adversarial nor parental." Rather than remain disconnected with his patients, Dr. Groopman believes that "You need to take care of people and listen to what is happening to them and take those observations back to the laboratory." He serves as a doctor and also functions as a friend.  In fact, Dr. Groopman chose

hematology/oncology because he knew that if a patient had a blood disease or cancer, the patient would need a doctor who would take primary responsibility. This would allow Dr. Groopman to experience the most "real" life.

As a researcher directing the cutting edge Robert Mapplethorpe Laboratory for AIDS Research, Groopman stresses the need to push boundaries, use the imagination and challenge the status quo. As Groopman says "Scientists have to able to question dogma." He depends on his intuition, rather than text book protocol. Groopman does not apply the word hopeless to any disease, he believes "God does provide man with the means to create miracles. The means are curiosity and intellect. The miracles are born from scientific research and discovery." "The most critical point is that odds and statistics are based on groups of patients and cannot be glibly applied to an individual. There is almost always a chance for everyone even in the most grim situation."