The New Doctor’s Desk Reference: How to Break Bad News (For Doctors) | The Health Care Blog

Akin to a eulogy, one doctor’s recollection of the powerful lesson of how to break bad news given by one of her instructors, Dr. Judah Folkman. The basics:

  1. Make sure everyone is sitting in a private room
  2. Remember only the first words will be heard. Start with saying you’re sorry
  3. Allow for silence while people absorb the news
  4. Answer questions with the facts you have on a factual basis
  5. After questions, ask what you can do (e.g., contact bosses, write letters etc).
  6. If the bad news is death, ask for an autopsy, assuring the family that it will not hurt.

The New Doctor’s Desk Reference: How to Break Bad News (For Doctors) | The Health Care Blog.

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