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Steven P. Kanner, MD, spent 38 years as an oncologist, helping his patients fight off deadly cancers; today he helps cancer patients and others with life-limiting illness face impending death. As a hospice physician with VITAS Healthcare, Dr. Kanner’s job is not to cure his patients but to ensure they spend their last days, months or years in comfort.

 

To know Dr. Kanner is to laugh with him. He’s always ready with a joke or a teasing remark. When Dr. Kanner enters a patient’s home, he brings with him a smile that never quits and a sparkle in his eyes. His easygoing manner puts patients and family members at ease. And it’s not hard to see that the nurses, aides, social worker, chaplains and others on his team enjoy the good-natured bantering he encourages.

 

But when he’s making sure his patients are comfortable and that their caregivers are getting the support they need, he’s all business.

 

Hospice physicians have the flexibility to spend as much time with each patient as they need.

“I get to see my patients in their home, which is what I prefer,” he says. “I get to see them in their