More About the Author
"e-Patient Dave" deBronkart was diagnosed in January 2007 with Stage IV, Grade 4 renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) at a very late stage. His median survival time at diagnosis was just 24 weeks; with tumors in both lungs, several bones, and muscle tissue, his prognosis was "grim," as one web site described it. His first book, "Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig," is extracted from the real-time journal he kept on CaringBridge.org - unedited - combined with later insights from his discovery of the "e-patient" movement.
He received great treatment at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: his surgeon removed the extensive mess (laparoscopically!), and the Biologic Therapy program helped him participate in a clinical trial for the powerful but severe High Dosage Interleukin-2 (HDIL-2). His last treatment was July 23, 2007, and by September it was clear he'd beaten the disease. His remaining lesions have continued to shrink.
== Today: Advocate and Activist ==
An accomplished speaker and writer in his professional life before his illness, today Dave is actively engaged in opening health care information directly to patients on an unprecedented level, thus creating a new dynamic in how information is delivered, accessed and used by the patient. This is revolutionizing the relationship between patient and health care providers, which in turn will impact insurance, careers/jobs, quality of life and the distribution of finances across the entire spectrum of health care.
== "What's an e-Patient?" ==
A year after the diagnosis Dave was invited by his primary physician, Dr. Danny Sands, to join the annual retreat of the e-Patient Scholars Working Group. Founded by the late Tom Ferguson MD, a true visionary, the group consists of pioneers, both medical and lay, who have been quietly (and not so quietly) altering the balance of power in healthcare, demonstrating that as the internet brings patients together with information and with each other, a new world of Participatory Medicine is evolving, in which patients become potent agents in creating and managing their own health, in partnership with physicians.
Tom Ferguson said e-patients are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled. Dave immediately saw himself as a match, became an active blogger on e-patients.net, and took on educating himself as much as he could. He went part-time in his day job in 2009, and left industry entirely in 2010 to devote himself full-time to healthcare.
"This is the first time in my life I've felt I have a calling," says Dave, "something I can't get away from: it's what I need to do. I've had plenty of fulfilling jobs in a great career, but not a calling. This is it."