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by Don Winslow

Do Doctors take Compassion 101? 
Are they taught how to treat us with kindness? 
Can Considerate Cancer Care be instilled from without? 
Compassion must come from somewhere, but where?
If Doctors do take Compassion 101 
Do they get marks from the teacher? 
Are there A students and B students? 
And what about the dunce of the class? 
Three doctors knew my prostate well, 
One said, "Call me at anytime!" 
The second said, "Daytime or nighttime!" 
The third said, "Do you realize how many patients I would have to call?" 
Should I feel lucky to have had two doctors with A's and only one with an F?

"Compassion 101" was originally published in the Wall Street Journal Online, November 14, 2007.

Don Winslow was treated for Prostate Cancer in the early 2000s and experienced the extremes in compassionate care. A Cancer Support workshop in Healing Through Poetry gave him the tools to express his feelings. For several years he was invited to read his poems to medical students at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.