Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice What Your Patient is Thinking

Telling me you don’t know is ok

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 08 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:l6803

Linked Comment

Matt Morgan: Those three little words

  1. Mark Wong
  1. markwongyz{at}

Mark Wong describes how the openness and honesty of health professionals about their uncertainty provided him with reassurance during a difficult diagnosis

When I arrived at the emergency department my movements were uncoordinated, I had difficulty balancing, and my speech was slurred. Over the past week typing had become increasingly difficult and I was suddenly unable to walk without stumbling. Initially I had attributed these symptoms to fatigue, but once my speech began to slur I started to fear the worst. After many tests and examinations, health professionals couldn’t find a physical cause for my symptoms. I was given a diagnosis of functional neurological disorder and told that it was probably caused by stress and would resolve with enough rest.

The diagnosis filled me with confusion …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription