Breaking bad news most difficult duty of a doctor: DAK

Srinagar: While all doctors in clinical practice encounter situations entailing bad news Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that medical education in J&K offers no formal training for this daunting task.

Terming it as an essential skill President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that doctors are not taught the art of breaking bad news to patients and their families.

“Bad news could be revealing cancer to a patient or disclosing the death of a loved one to a family,” he said.

He added that discussing tragic news with families will not only impact them in a short term but for many years to come. “The process of breaking bad news is neither taught in medical schools nor during residency. Physicians learn it by watching their seniors that certainly is not adequate for something which is so important,” added Dr Nisar.

He said breaking bad news is the most difficult duty of a physician. “Telling someone that their loved one, who has just diarrhea, has cancer is the most uncomfortable situation for a doctor,” observed DAK.

Dr Nisar said while breaking bad news is now a core part of the medical curriculum, in JK no attention is given to this area.

He cited some studies have shown that deficient knowledge can affect doctors’ ability to impart bad news sensitively. Adding, the doctors hesitate or even decline to discuss poor prognosis with patients and their families.

“They fear the bad news will dash hopes. Their training hasn’t prepared them for sensitive conversations. Breaking bad news is a balancing act between informing patients and sustaining their hope,” he said. (PTK)

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