"Doctor communication"

About: Western General Hospital / Medical Oncology

(as a relative),

I'm afraid to say, I think the medical oncology doctors I came into contact with need to go back to medical school and complete the module on "breaking bad news". I am completely dumb founded by the huge lack of empathy and emotional intelligence exhibited by the doctors on the oncology wards. You would expect these professionals to be well skilled in giving bad news and understanding the emotional toil cancer wars but my mothers doctors were appalling. They kept repeatedly telling her she was dying in the most clumsy and offensive language. Came to a point when I had to take them aside and politely explain she knew she was dying (as she'd told them before when she was repeatedly missdiagnosed) and to basically shut up! I spoke with many patients on the wards and they'd all had similar experiences. They were all shocked by the brutal lack of compassion and felt they were treated like a case and not a person. People near the end of life deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and compassion. If the onco doctors can't do this, they need to change careers or at least speciality.

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Response from Melanie Johnson, Executive Nurse Director, NHS Lothian


Thank you for taking the time to share your comment. I am very sorry that you found our doctors to be lacking in compassionate communication skills. This is not what we expect and I know the Oncology Team will be very disappointed to hear of your experience. If you would like to contact me directly and share some more details that would be helpful in terms of enabling me to feedback your comments directly to the individuals concerned.

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