How should physicians give bad news to patients?

Interesting aspect of this post is how doctors try to guess the professional background of their patients, and how this influences the approach they use in communicating with them. Not surprising, as many of us tailor our communications to the person and situation. Quote:

There is no standard strategy of how to do this right. In addition, patients are distinct human beings and must be approached individually. See First, a blog that emphasizes the importance of communication between physicians and patients, writes that false hope for patients may be the wrong prescription. Medrants, an academic physician and thoughful blogger, speaks for all physicians when he writes, breaking bad news may be the most difficult and important part of our profession.

My doctors have the right balance between being direct and open, yet delivered with empathy, apart from a few exceptions. And as I have noted before, how we hear news varies by individual, with an overall optimism bias (here).

How should physicians give bad news to patients?.


2 thoughts on “How should physicians give bad news to patients?

  1. This is an important topic – it really sets the tone for a patient’s experience with that particular doctor, and whether or not they feel supported within the hospital system. We’ve been discussing just this subject on our forum; comparing varying experiences and approaches the doctor have taken when breaking the news about cancer. Here’s a link if you’re interesting in reading some personal accounts (and please do join the conversation!):

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