A Brief Note on Difficult Discussions Between Doctors and Patients

By H. I. Grousbeck, C. G. Prober, Alexander Tauber
2009 | Case No. ETH11 | Length 9 pgs.
A Brief Note on Difficult Discussions Between Doctors and Patients provides students with a framework to help them think about how to have such discussions. The framework has three parts: 1. The contextual realities of a given case. Two categories of contextual realities exist. First, there are the factual components that surround a case. Without a full understanding of all the facts, a doctor will be handicapped in a difficult discussion. Second, there are complicating factors – the “invisible” obstacles that can create unnecessary tension or otherwise compromise a difficult conversation. 2. The goal(s). What is success in a difficult doctor-patient discussion? 3. Guidelines for difficult discussions. The specific steps to take during the discussion to create the best odds for success.

Learning Objective

This case aspires to improve students’ ability to deal effectively with difficulty interpersonal situations in medical contexts.
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