Intended for healthcare professionals


Tea and empathy

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:229
  1. Paul McIntyre (, consultant virologist
  1. Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee

At a recent educational meeting a consultant in palliative care emphasised that empathy but not sympathy was important in patient care. I was vague about the difference, although I have noted that professionals and lay people alike increasingly prefer the word empathy.

I consulted the website, which provided definitions of empathy from five different dictionaries …

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