Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Are Doctors Short on Empathy?

By Dena Rifkin, MD

A number of news outlets have picked up an article, published in last week’s Archives of Internal Medicine, which suggests that physicians “miss” opportunities to express empathy and compassion in discussions with cancer patients. The researchers noted 384 “empathetic opportunities,” but only about 10% of those received an empathetic response.
The article was fascinating, but I think the press coverage was a bit overstated. The study looked at less than 30 interactions at one medical center, but generated headlines such as: “For Some Doctors, Empathy Is in Short Supply.” Read More

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