Thursday, July 9, 2009
Lesson learned from an attending today: how not to deliver bad news. How about when the patient's not even yours, but you're the attending and you've just seen the latest scans, and you're on rounds so there's a dozen people in the room, and you've just introduced yourself to the patient for the first time. "So, Mrs. So-and-so, we got the results back and they're not good. Blah-blah-blah details, blah-blah-blah treatment options, any questions? Quickly, because we're running late and have a lot of other patients to get to this morning." I don't know, if I were a patient I don't think I'd want bad news delivered to me in a room packed with residents, med students, nurse practitioners, and the janitor. If possible, it would be great if it were actually my own doctor telling me this stuff too. And if not, maybe one-on-one, or two-on-one. Maybe when you actually have time to sit and talk about it, to explain stuff slowly, to hold my hand. Good grief. And it's not like anyone can say to the attending, "hey, how about you just circle back to this one at the end and not drag us all in there to tell her she's gonna die," or "hey, I know it's convenient for you to do this now, but maybe it's not that considerate for the patient."
Posted by Anon MD at 8:52 PM