Breaking Bad News

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Although bad news is often devastating for the patient to hear, it is also difficult for the physician to say. Doctors like to fix things. They like to fix broken bones, strep throats, malfunctioning hearts. They do not like things that cannot be fixed. That may be why in medical education we talk about “breaking” bad news because so much ends up broken for the patient, the patient’s family, and the physician.

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