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The stories below illustrate real life experiences of communication in a healthcare setting.
From A Doctors Point of View-1/10/17
As a palliative care physician, I am involved in many difficult, emotional and important conversations with my patients and their families. Several years ago, I received a card from a family whose daughter I cared for at the end of her short life. Within the card the mother recalled a cherished late night conversation her and I had shared at her daughter’s bedside. Not only did she recount the words I used but also the way I knelt beside her in the rocking chair and the way I “tiptoed” in and out of the room that night to prevent my heels from clicking against the hard floor. It was after receiving that letter that I truly realized that every aspect of every conversation is important to our patients and their families – it is not just the words that come out of our mouths, but our facial expressions, our body language, our location in the room. Through the Breaking Bad News Program, participants are taught the skills necessary to truly understand and improve all aspects of compassionate communication. I am honored to continue to work with such an important program that will forever change the way a physician practices the art of medicine.”
Bad Way to Give Bad News-8/2016
My husband, a diabetic since age 10, had many emergencies and hospitalizations throughout his life. When he was 33 had a cardiac arrested at home. CPR was started and EMS called. When I got to the hospital an ER nurse told me the doctor wanted to see me. I walked in and a doctor I had never met was sitting casually (legs crossed, leaning back) with a neutral expression on his face. Without looking at me, he said, "Danny's gone." I thought he was saying my husband was already moved to ICU. He then had to clarify and said (again without looking at me), "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but Danny died." It has been 32 years and I still can't forget the doctor who couldn't look me in the eye as he abruptly told me my life and the lives of our 3 young children would never be the same. I've often wondered if he ever got better at delivering such awful news to people. Thank you BBN, for helping our young doctors develop these extremely important skills.
Sweet Doctor Needs BBN Training - 6/2016
My mother recently passed away comfortably in her sleep. She was 88 years old and had a long history of congestive heart failure. About one week before she died she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He condition was rapidly deteriorating. The internal medicine physician sat down with our family and started to discuss end of life decisions. She was young. It was clear that she was nervous and did not know what to say or do. She stumbled over her words and struggled to find what to say. I can tell that by the tear in her eye that she was compassionate but she struggled with the proper words to use to convey her message to us in a way that would ease the pain for us. Eventually we understood what she was asking and we decided to provide comfort care to my mother during her last hours of life. My mother, thankfully passed away in her sleep with her family beside her. I spoke to the resident later and she told me that she never was taught what to say to families during death and dying situation. I told her about BBN and she wrote down the name. You never know how important the work BBN is until it effects you. Believe me, I wish this doctor was trained before. Hopefully the next time she will be prepared. Thank you BBN for what you do.