Soundings Soundings

Breaking bad news

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:521
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner
  1. Crossmaglen, County Armagh

    Breaking bad news is quite all right with me; as La Rochefoucald said, “We all have strength enough to bear the troubles of others.” However, I often try to soften the blow with the gift of music: “Your Auntie Rose is dead,” sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday”; or the gift of humour: “You have two months to live, gosh, but that was from last month, and this is February”; or the gift of charades, which is tricky, as medical terms don't lend …

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