Thank you for your truly sensitive and gentle support of Jean in her final days. She loved your empathy and, indeed you. As the destructive rheumatoid arthritis took away her fierce independence, always with a continuous and debilitating level of pain, and as she fought against horrible side-effects, necessitating several extended stays in Norwalk Hospital, you were the first to really take the time to analyse her suffering in detail and to come up with a combination of medications to manage the pain. Your suggestions made her the least uncomfortable she had been for many months. When the disease progressed you listened and helped her face the next steps. You appreciated the mental trauma she suffered as she was forced to accept the loneliness of total dependence on those around her and to leaving me and grandchildren, and you gently helped her come to terms with her final day as we cried together just before the end.
At the age of 84, I was given the difficult diagnosis of Stage IV Lung Cancer, already metastasized to my bones. Inoperable. Incurable. I knew that palliative care was something to explore for my primary concerns; pain control and symptom management. At the time, I had no idea of the depth, broadness and reach of palliative care regarding care of a patient and their family facing serious life threatening illness! I called Dr. Sung and my first phone call was an eyeopener. I was a total stranger to Dr. Sung but she listened carefully and compassionately to my story. Constrained by her responsibilities as Clinical Leader at Norwalk Hospital, Dr. Sung referred me to a team that provided me with the kind of care that I needed to meet my goals in this phase in life.
Palliative care made it possible for me to live with this cancer in a most positive way, helping to reduce family stress as well as my own; avoiding unnecessary treatments, hospitalizations and ER visits; controlling symptoms; educating me to the realities of end of life decisions and choices and giving me support and advocates to help me achieve the results I want!
May 25, 2017
Complicated medical issues become highly stressful and emotionally complex. During these critical times, both patient and family look for a physician who is not just medically capable; but who is adept at the simple task of caring. Dr. Heather Sung gently walked through my husband's final months with exceptional compassion, and patience towards not only my husband as a patient but he and I, together as a family. Before commencing any medical examination, many days Dr. Sung sat bedside with my husband, assessing his emotional well-being. She would take the time to call me to answer my questions, discuss medical procedures or walk through pain management recommendations that aligned with his goals to remain active in life. Dr. Sung collaborated with his other doctors and provided us with guidance. During this difficult time, we needed medical professionals who were genuine and compassionate, who valued my husband as an individual, not as a person with a terminal condition. This is what we got from Dr. Sung.
I have found Dr Heather Sung to be so passionate about her patients and the field of palliative care. She is extremely knowledgeable and gave of her time so easily and without a feeling that I was being rushed. Her advice on how to treat my mother, who is in end stage dementia, and what services are available along with tips to improve her life as best we can was invaluable. I feel confident when I speak to her that I am doing what is best and that my mother is receiving the best care we can provide. Dr. Sung has also provided me with resources for support as a care giver. For me and my family she was not just a palliative care provider she is everything that Palliative care should be !!
Sandy Hook, CT