Throughout my career, I have had to deliver hard news to my patients. I have had to deliver even worse news to their families. It is the LEAST favorite part of my job, but I have found some comfort knowing I am delivering the news with compassion and empathy. I usually know the patient and family very well, and I think that means a lot.
These suggestions may be helpful when faced with a difficult diagnosis.
Let's look at each suggestion in detail:
I am in a unique position in that I have both delivered and received hard news. At the age of 40, when my youngest son was 4, I was told I probably have lymphoma AND multiple sclerosis over the phone by a nurse. I was told to get an appointment with an oncologist and a neurologist as soon as possible. Many blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsies later, I was finally told that "you don't have cancer! And I don't think you have MS but I'm not sure. What you do have is a lifelong incurable autoimmune disease that can attack any organ and can be difficult to treat. And by the way, nobody has really heard of it and even us doctors have to google it when we see it on a chart."
So maybe those weren't his exact words, but it was close. And there will be a lot more to that story to come in my posts. I wish someone had used tip #3 with me when delivering my news.