Medina Physician’s Assistant Challenges Traditional Patient-Provider Protocols
If you are lucky enough to meet Sarah Cawley, you’ll be changed by the experience. All of us who have gotten to know this Medina woman have been inspired by her courage, strength, wisdom and compassion.
I will explain.
Sarah is a breast cancer survivor, a mother and a physician’s assistant who is using her own experiences with cancer to challenge traditional paradigms about health care professionals’ relationships with their patients.
Sarah, now 35, was just 32 when she discovered the lump that would eventually send her through a seemingly endless regimen of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries.
She’s quick to admit that it was difficult, exhausting and there were times when she was unsure how she’d keep the promise that she made to her youngest daughter to run a half-marathon every single year. (I will come back to the half-marathon and Sarah’s determination to stay fit.)
I, of course, am moved by that determination and her dedication to help increase awareness about breast cancer. Sarah is one of our spokespeople for the Panera Pink Ribbon Bagel campaign; and she’s helped us raise thousands of dollars to help victims.
But in addition to all of that, Sarah is touching her patients in deeply personal ways by sharing her own experiences.
Medical professionals are usually trained to maintain a professional distance with patients, but Sarah uses her personal experiences to empathize with patients. She’s told people suffering with cancer and going through chemotherapy how it impacted her; and she’s shared her own fears and thoughts.
She is able to validate patients’ symptoms, answer their questions honestly and treat people with compassion that touches them deeply.
She works in the emergency room at Southwest General Health Center. She also serves at the Cleveland Clinic as a family engagement adviser to the Children’s Hospital.
She has been speaking across the country about patient advocacy and experiences. And she is in training for a half-marathon and tries to run every day.
We’re honored to have her as our spokesperson and thrilled to have her advocating for breast cancer and all patients.