If there was one thing you think society should talk more about, what would it be? 

What doctors and patients want from their relationship. Patients don't just need doctors good at diagnosis, they need empathic and compassionate doctors willing to talk, listen and advocate for them”


Having experienced my fair share of disillusionment with our medical system, I’ve often wondered; ‘what if the doctors that were treating me had gone through this? Would they be more empathetic, more understanding of my concerns and my feelings about the treatment?” But to be honest, that’s as far as my thinking went. Whilst frustrated with the apparent lack of empathy in the ‘medical fraternity’, I didn’t feel passionate about it enough to throw in my day job & re-train as a doctor to fight this pandemic from within… how crazy would that seem? And yet, that’s exactly the path that my guest today, has taken.


Meet Ben Bravery. Originally a zoologist and science communicator, Ben worked for the Australian and Chinese governments before being diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer at age twenty-eight. After undergoing eighteen months of cancer treatment, Ben decided on a career change. He became a doctor in 2018 and is now undertaking speciality training in psychiatry. 


Ben volunteers, advocates, writes and speaks about colorectal cancer, living with cancer, cancer in young adults - but what’s most interesting to me is that he’s also talking about and shining a light on the ‘dark arts’ of medicine and medical education, and is committed to advocating for change in Australia's healthcare system. 


His book, The Patient Doctor, is the powerful and inspiring story of his life-changing decision to become a doctor and enact change for the better within the health system. As a scientist, Ben understood his illness and treatment, but this in no way prepared him for what it would really be like to be a patient. Ben is one incredible human and I loved this conversation so much. Please enjoy this very frank and inspiring chat with the wonderful Dr Bravery. 


For more information about Ben, check out these places;-






His Book: The Patient Doctor


I felt compelled to write this book because each one of us will interact with the health system at some point, which means we all have an interest in ensuring the ‘system’ doesn’t forget the people at the heart of it. Sadly, everyone has a story about leaving a doctor's office or hospital frustrated and annoyed, and doctors are stressed and burning out at record rates. Having the experience of being a patient first, and then a doctor, I can understand both sides of the story, and I know it doesn't have to be this way.”


Head to for more information about the ONE QUESTION podcast, your host or today’s guests


Connect with Michelle on Linkedin here:- @MichelleJCox


Connect with Michelle on Instagram here:- @michellejcox


Connect with Michelle on Facebook here - @michellejcox

AND, if you have a burning topic you’d love people to talk more about, or know someone who’d be great to come on the One Question podcast, please get in touch;-


Back to blog