The concept of the article is a sensitive one, and I think that the fact that it was written by an M.D. changed the way I read it. It uses first person and includes personal stories and assessments as well as "objective" ones.
The article is based off of a study of terminally ill patients and their caregivers and doctors, but this study only followed 55 patients. Not many details are given about the study--what percent of patients felt abandoned? The whole article builds off of the premise that this is a rampant problem, but there's not much support either way. In the personal example of Chen's patient John, she fails to communicate with the patient's family after his death. However, despite Chen's statement that closure "mitigates any feelings of abandonment," the story does not prove that. Chen doesn't include the reaction of John's niece--did this person crave closure and feel abandoned? The reader has no idea, and the story is poignant but not very effective towards Chen's point.
Dr. Back's quote about the two types of doctors is a good one. So is the one about patient death feeling like failure and looking for meaning. Despite the fact that he led the study about feelings of abandonment, I felt like this article lacked authority. There is a lot of speculation about why these feelings occur and how things can change, but it feels just like people guessing at causes and solutions.
At the end of the article, Chen finally mentions that this is a column, which was a surprise to me because the beginning presents itself as a news article detailing the results of a scientific study. The fact that it is a column doesn't change the fact that Chen didn't really support her assertion well. All I know now is that some number of patients, out of a study of 55, were somehow measured as having feelings of abandonment towards doctors. The article ends well, though, incorporating the visual picture of the ducks used earlier in the article.