Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers Tips on…

Breaking bad news

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 12 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1131
  1. Chinmay Patvardhan, senior house officer in medicine (
  1. University Hospital of North Tees, Stockton

    Nothing tests our communication skills so much as breaking bad news. Such conversations can be extremely emotional for both doctor and patient. The right words said in the right way make a huge difference. Here are some tips:

    • Always read the patient's clinical notes, the test results, in detail. Make a mental note of the patient's resuscitation status and past communications

    • Speak to the nurse in charge of the patient and ask him or …

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