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Eleven Things to Never Say to Patients

Eleven Things to Never Say to Patients

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When patients present for care, it's common for emotions to run high. And given the incredibly vulnerable position these encounters often place patients in, it's not surprising for fear, worry, and apprehension to take center stage.

Carefully selected wording on the part of physicians can help to calm these situations and prevent further patient discomfort.

Here are 11 phrases best avoided during possibly delicate and intense physician-patient interactions.

To view the slideshow in PDF format, click here.

Source: 
Physicians Practice

Comments

The first suggested phrase not to say caused me to NOT read the rest of this.

Most patients are sick of physicians who think they know everything. A physician who cannot say " I don't know" when it is appropriate, is a physician that I as a physician would avoid seeing.

Kevin @

excellent

ALAN @

excellent

ALAN @

So if I don't what is happening with my patient, are you suggesting faking an answer? I disagree with your opinion of saying, "I don't know". If I don't know what is going on, then I will be honest to my patient and tell them "I don't know". However, I will also add, "but I will try to find out for you."

My patients appreciate honesty and the fact that I am trying my best to take care of them. If I don't know something, I will tell them so and try to find out the answer for them and learn something new myself.

Craig @

I would say the wording of the response is key. The blunt "I don't know" may be better approached as "I am unsure, but I will find out." It depends on the patient's perception (depending on mood, hostility), your tone, and your body language. The art is skirting perception so that the patient does not feel uncomfortable.

Mitchell @

The response by Suzanne Fuchs can often backfire - many times when a physician dismisses symptoms or conditions as inconsequential it's because the physician's wrong and should have sent the patient for a higher level consult (rheumatology, etc.). Autoimmune and other diseases present in weird ways with very serious long-term consequences and are often missed by numerous sequential providers before a patient gets a correct assessment/treatment. Yeah, they may be troubling to the patient because they're not minor or insignificant.

Richard @

I'm not quite sure I agree with these in all contexts. I take myself for example. I want my health care providers to be upfront . . . good, bad, or indifferent. Hope is good . . . unless it gives a sense of "false hope." which causes other kinds of damage to the pt/client and those around him/her when the inevitable happens. Miracles that contravene the best available scientific knowledge are extremely few and far between and should not be the basis for providing incontrovertible "hope".

Frederick @

This is what I tell my students "Take anything from your patients, but do not away the Hope".

Varun @

This would have been more helpful if better alternative phrases were included in this presentation. C. Seskind, MD, internist, Chicago

Tanya @

I think the text did give options of how better to address the patient concerns represented.

Jessica @

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