Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

The heart sink doctor

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 26 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6660
  1. Jonathan Glass, consultant urologist
  1. Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Trust
    Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JMG_urology

Much has been written about so called “heart sink” patients, but Jonathan Glass says what doctors need to avoid is becoming the heart sink doctor

Every Friday morning our department has an academic meeting, lasting an hour. They are a highlight of the week. Occasionally we have a “round the room” session, where each of the consultants spends a few minutes discussing how they approach a particular patient group—men with erectile dysfunction, for example, or women who have had recurrent urinary tract infections.

This week the subject was our experiences with what has been termed the heart sink patient. Each of us was supposed to talk about cases that we’ve found difficult, whether it was a patient with a particularly challenging condition or a puzzling set of symptoms, likely to be organic in origin. It’s those cases that cause the doctor to hold their head in their hands while …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription