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U of C Medical Center gets $42 million gift to improve doctor-patient relationships

Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum her doctor Mark Siegler. A good experience with Siegler led Bucksbaum set up foundatiimprove doctor-patient relations. |

Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum and her doctor, Mark Siegler. A good experience with Siegler led Bucksbaum to set up a foundation to improve doctor-patient relations. | U. of C. Photo

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Updated: November 10, 2011 5:33PM

A lousy experience with a previous doctor — a misdiagnosis, not getting to know her — left a bad impression on Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum.

But another doctor — Dr. Mark Siegler — turned things around in a big way.

$42 million big.

On Thursday, the Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Foundation announced a $42 million donation to the University of Chicago Medical Center to improve doctor-patient relationships.

The pledge, one of the largest ever to the hospital, will be used to create the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, which will focus on teaching medical students and doctors to better help patients make informed decisions about their treatment. The Bucksbaum family was in the shopping mall business.

“In Dr. Siegler, I have had a doctor who is interested in my husband and me as persons, not just diseases — although we’ve confronted him with a few of them,” Kay Bucksbaum said. “I have so valued that. A special mark of Dr. Siegler’s character is his extreme kindness and interest in what makes us tick.”

The Bucksbaum institute, which will be under the director of Siegler, will train medical students and faculty who can serve as role models in communications and shared decision-making.

Holly Humphrey, dean for Medical Education at the University of Chicago, called the gift a “transformative” pledge that will impact generations.

Siegler said the doctor-patient relationship “relies on communication, discussion, and negotiation.”

“Doctors and patients ought to feel confidence, respect, and trust in each other,” he said. “Good patient care begins with clinical competence, but it combines technical skills and clinical judgment with close attention to the patient’s individual values and needs.”

Sun-Times Staff Reports

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