Meaningful Conversation is a Crucial Part of Medicine

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From Scientific American: Doctor-patient communication is an incredibly important part of medical treatment. However, doctors often do not have the time or resources to be able to communicate as thoroughly and effectively with their patients as they would like.

“When asked about the most trying part of being a physician, our colleagues and our own responses may include the following: to cure, to heal, to fix—while not making mistakes. This may be what is expected of us, yet the most difficult part may be not in the technical aspects but in the art of doctor–patient communication, the act of delivering difficult news. Especially if the results cannot be ‘fixed’ or ‘healed.’ And if this is the case, then time is one aspect that allows patients and families to be at the center of the healing relationship.

A diagnosis has meaning. It gives a name to the struggles and pain that individuals and families experience. It matters how it is delivered and who delivers it, especially when there is uncertainty and not a clear path. These conversations should provide a pathway to relieve struggles, provide support and alleviate suffering.”

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