Hearing Bad News

Journal of Medical Humanities 32 (3):187-211 (2011)
Abstract
Personal reports of receiving bad news provide data that describes patients’ comprehension, reflections, experienced emotions, and an interpretative commentary with the wisdom of hindsight. Analysis of autobiographical accounts of “hearing bad news” enables the identification of patterns of how patients found out diagnoses, buffering techniques used, and styles of receiving the news. I describe how patients grapple with the news, their somatic responses to hearing, and how they struggle and strive to accept what they are hearing. I discuss metaphors used within the languages of hearing bad news. Finally, I discuss implications for a change of focus in the breaking bad news research agenda, that is, from the physician’s “performance” to a patient-focused agenda
Keywords Hearing bad news  Breaking bad news  Emotion  Biographical description
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