What if there is no good news?
But how do physicians communicate bad news when there is no good news in between?
According to one study, “If you look at the charts of people with lung cancer, only 22 percent of the charts tell the doctor and the patient that the patient is going to die.” “Most conversations tend to go along the lines of ‘it’s not curable, but it’s treatable.'” I’m not saying that over and over again .In fact, 90 percent of people say they want the truth and honest information.
Smith says the “bad news” conversation needs to be more than just a conversation. “If you give bad symptoms, no one will hear anything for the next 3 weeks. I’m surprised.
The situation is improving. “When I started forty years ago, palliative care was not the norm,” he says. now, At Johns Hopkins, medical students are practicing delivering bad news to trained acting “patients.”