Dealing with Death & Dying in Medical Education and Practice
© 2001 Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
AMSA Convention March 30, 2001
Delivering Bad News
  • Choose a quiet setting.
  • Give the news in person, if possible.
  • Choose a moment when patient & physician are rested & have enough time.
  • If an interpreter is used, talk to him/her in advance.
  • Assess the patientís present physiologic and emotional state.
  • Prepare the patient by saying there is a difficult topic to discuss.
  • Use clear, simple language.
  • Express sorrow for the patientís pain; be human.
  • Give limited information; schedule time to talk again later.
  • Be realistic; avoid minimizing the problem.
  • Donít take away all hope.
  • See how the patient feels after hearing the news.
  • Reassure the patient of the continued availability of care no matter what happens.
Miranda J. Brody RV. Communicating bad news. WJM 1992; 156:83-85.

Compilation of resources for this presentation and Website © 2001 Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS.
Journey of Hearts,