Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Medicine under fire

Media portrayal of humanitarian crises

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 23 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j325
  1. Samuel J DeFriend, fifth year medical student
  1. Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK
  1. defriendsj{at}

Sheather and Hawkins discuss “compassion fatigue” in relation to contemporary humanitarian crises.1 Potential solutions must consider the important role of the media, through which distant suffering is made visible.

Compassion fatigue, if it exists, is potentially the sum of three problems. Firstly, the gap between observing human suffering and the capacity to intervene may have become so …

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