Breaking Bad News: A Side of Medicine That Is Not Easy
Most doctors and medical students would agree that Patient communication, especially communicating bad news is one of the most over-looked subjects in medical training. Have you ever been in such a situation? What helped you handle the moment? How did you communicate to your patient's relative?
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Sahil Munjal's article:
After this experience, I appreciate how we as doctors make a difference not just in the life of a patient but also their family. I now realize how even in the toughest of situations, breaking bad news in an empathetic way along with being involved in the struggle of loved ones can make a difference in their suffering. I have learnt that the discussion should be in a place with some privacy, away from distractions, using simple language to discuss all the facts that are known or unknown and giving the caregiver space to understand the information. As we can never fully understand what the caregiver is going through, the best approach is to validate and support their emotions. In these situations, I also believe moving closer to the caregiver or even maintaining a physical contact like putting a hand on their shoulder is appropriate as it facilitates a sense of comfort for the caregiver. Being there for the patient and their family, understanding what they are going through, and making us available for questions to mitigate their uncertainty helps them in their ability to process the situation.