JAMA ( IF 45.540 ) Pub Date : 2020-01-14 , DOI: 10.1001/jama.2019.21005 Samuel D Slavin
Her cancer was gone. Her visa was approved. Her nephew was born just days before. So, quietly humming songs of praise, Marie flew for the first time from Haiti to Boston to help care for the baby.
A few years back, when Marie was in her early 30s, the breast cancer diagnosis tore her life to pieces. Her husband abandoned her along with their 2 children soon after she told him about the diagnosis. She was placed on leave from her job because she was too ill to work. Without treatment options in Haiti, she traveled to Cuba for surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Eventually she returned to Haiti, believing the cancer was gone for good.
Marie returned to work and by the time she turned 39, cancer seemed firmly behind her. Then, with her first steps off the plane in Boston, a deep pain took hold within her right hip. Her joyous humming stopped. When the pain became unbearable, she presented to our hospital where a scan showed metastatic disease invading the bones of her pelvis. That was when her name initially flashed across my inbox: “Resident Primary Care Needed for Very Polite Young Woman from Haiti with Breast Cancer.” Having spent time in Haiti and being fluent in Haitian Creole, I offered to take her on my primary care panel.