Who is Your Doctor?: Dr. Timothy Quill, University of Rochester School of Medicine
The inaugural speech of the Medical Commencement Archive entitled, Who is Your Doctor?, comes from Dr. Timothy E. Quill, M.D., at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Archive will now release a new speech each Friday. Stay tuned for spectacular reads which speak directly to the future of medicine with wise reflections from the past.
Dr. Quill is an accomplished physician and author in the field of Palliative Care. He earned his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, and received his M.D. at the University of Rochester. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Medicine/Psychiatry Liaison at the University of Rochester. Dr.Quill is now Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is also the Director of the URMC Palliative Care Program. Dr. Quill has published extensively on the doctor-patient relationship, with an emphasis on the difficult decision-making processes toward the end of life. He was the lead physician plaintiff in the 1997 Supreme Court case Quill v. Vacco challenging the law prohibiting physician-assisted death.
In his speech, Dr. Quill spoke to the class about the need for competent and personal medical care in this complex and fast-paced world of biomedicine with all its specialties and subspecialties. He drew upon his extensive clinical experience in palliative care to illustrate how a deep understanding of the patient and their family can help physicians not only guide patients through the plethora of medical options, but also make,
“…clear recommendations among those options based on their medical knowledge and their knowledge of the patient as a person.” Dr. Quill believes, “that kind of guidance and engagement, which is both medically competent but also very person, is what will make [one] a really exemplary doctor.”
Dr. Quill’s speech is indeed very touching and inspirational. His personal clinical anecdotes are moving, as they illustrate how competent and personal medicine improves patient care. His focus and dedication to understanding and treating patients as opposed to diseases is evident and serves as a role model to all, including medical students. His words inspire medical student to,
“become one of those doctors who is not only technically very competent, but also very willing to engage with patients and families in difficult decision-making.”
The MSPress encourages you to read his commencement speech to not only gain insight into Dr. Quill’s wisdom, filled with powerful anecdotes, but to learn from an accomplished and very thoughtful physician.