Doctors crying with patients: Appropriate bedside manner?

Doctors are only human, nothing more and nothing less. The NY Times published a piece about physicians crying at the bedside: At Bedside, Stay Stoic or Display Emotions? and Dr. Centor of DB’s Medical Rants wrote an interesting comment on the article:

"As I consider my career, I do not remember crying at the bedside. Does that make me cold? Which behavior is more appropriate?

Delivering bad news is painful. Before each session I prepare myself using a self visualization technique. I have learned over the years the art of these conversations. Each one drains me both because I empathize and I care. However, crying would detract from my ability to do the complete job of helping the patient.

Perhaps men, and men of my generation are better at compartmentalizing. Perhaps our maturation process included not openly crying.

I think about my patients. I do care. Displaying raw emotion does not work for me.

If I let me emotions take over, then I believe my effectiveness will diminish."

Some patients prefer their doctors to have a "warm and fuzzy" personality while others opt for a doctor with a more technical approach -- "just fix the problem." Luckily for all, there are physicians to represent both ends of the spectrum and in between.

At Bedside, Stay Stoic or Display Emotions?. NYTimes.
Appropriate bedside manner. DB’s Medical Rants.
Image source: Shaylor's photostream, Creative Commons license. The image is not related and does not show the patient.

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