When neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Stern’s sister, Victoria, was diagnosed with leukemia, it turned his world upside down – both personally and professionally.
In his book, Grief Connects Us: A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion, Dr. Stern invites us on the journey through his sister’s illness and death, eloquently capturing the hope, uncertainty and heartbreak experienced by so many families when faced with the terminal illness of a loved one. The incorporation of Victoria’s journal entries throughout the text gives the reader additional insight into not only her renewed bond with her brother, but also her own fears and vulnerability. Throughout, a strong thread of hope weaves throughout their individual experiences, further strengthening their relationship and, ultimately, connecting them in their grief.
Dr. Stern joined us for a thoughtful discussion about his experiences guiding his sister through her illness, his grief following her death, and how those experiences transformed the approach he takes to caring for his own patients and their families.
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About Our Guest
Dr. Joseph “Jody” Stern is a board certified neurosurgeon and author. In 2015, Dr. Stern lost his sister to a nearly year-long battle with leukemia. Through this loss, his encounters with medical professionals, and his own experience as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Stern realized the need of integrating compassion and empathy into the medical field. He has since become committed to deepening and humanizing the doctor-patient relationship.
Dr. Stern is also the Co-Director of the Cone Health Brain Tumor Program, where he specializes in brain tumor surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, spinal surgery, and functional neurosurgery (deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease and tremors).
His book, Grief Connects Us: A Neurosurgeon’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and Compassion, explores the impact of grief and loss on doctors and patients, and advocates for medical professionals to tap into their emotions when interacting with patients and their families.