General

Empathy

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19 Nov 2016 - General
 

This medical comic is hilarious. The doctor went through great lengths to show "empathy" (no pun intended) to the patient by wearing a customized hospital gown (I believe this is a case of symapthy rather than empathy).  In everyday consults, doctors would have to be able to put themselves in patient's shoes which is also known as empathy.  This allows them to treat the patient and not just the disease. The important trait is not readily available to most young practicioners and needs to be harnessed through clinical experience.

For the MIMS community, how do you practice/show empathy to the patients? Do you see anything peculiar or have a refreshing take with the comic too?

 

Chih Chiang Nieh Your comments enhance the discussion of empathy. Thank you for these comments. Sympathy is not a trait that doctors should possess because it could lead to transference and clouded judgment. Empathy is the trait that allows a doctor to treat holistically. Touching a body part (only appropriate part of course) can also alleviate a patient or relative's burden. It is something that I do becaus...
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I practice and show empathy to my patients mostly with my body language. Even though the day can be busy and lots of patient to see, we should appear that we are still patient and listening carefully to meet the ideas, concerns and expectations patients have. The tone of the voice is also important, try to be soft and forthcoming with abit of gestures like oh, or repeating the words that they say to make them feel important.
Occasionally in some cultures, we may need a little bit of comforti...
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Empathy is different from sympathy. Some people can be confused with those 2 terms. As doctors we should empathise and not sympathise with patients. Sympathy is when we look at the patient and we feel "ohh so poor things" in that manner; whereas empathy is the feeling that patient perceive that the doctor shows care and concern. I always believe that the role of doctors is to treat sometime, relief often and to comfort always, that's is the sole reason why we are not replaced by ro...
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Marinelle Castro The best move to show empathy is sometimes to not make a move at all. Allowing personal space and time to process a harsh news is probably the best one can offer to a patient or grieving relative. I am impressed by your institution's showing of empathy by providing a space to grieve for relatives. Also, we have to respect how a person reacts to a horrible news. Some act way too emotionally w...
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Heena Pohani That's a unique perspective, and I agree that there is some truth to that. It is similar to how some advertisements work - - by appealing to emotions! Nevertheless, all healthcare providers should still show empathy for their patients, especially in difficult situations such as death of a loved one, disclosure of a newly diagnosed terminal illness, and failure of treatment. Doctors can express e...
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Heena Pohani Thank you for this very insightful comment of yours. "These qualities are being adopted by the quack doctors and they are taking advantage of it. " Honestly, I have not looked at it this way. Charlatans convince patients because they listen and treat both subjectively and objectively. That is very true. As for doctors needing to possess empathy, it could not be stated more. Doctors , the re...
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It is an interesting, hilarious as well as quite a serious topic Mark Edmon Tan. Many times treating patients becomes a daily routine and many of us, doctors fail to realise the situation of the patient and have an empathy towards him or her. The doctors that show empathy towards their patients, not like that shown in the comic, are always appreciated by the patients and as the patient has an emotional connection...
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