In this discussion of suffering, the thesis presented may sound somewhat odd. I shall make a plea for the understanding of, but not the condoning of, behavior by the physician which may seem callous, indifferent, and even at times cruel to the patient. I shall suggest that incurable illness, or what may seem to be incurable, is a situation of shared suffering. The problem for the physician is one of converting his suffering into a helpful stance rather than one viewed as harmful by the patient; but this may, for all practical purposes, be an unrealistic goal. Medicine is not only a difficult profession, it may even be an impossible one as long as we cannot cure everyone.