• hugs or not?

    Asked by txmedstudent on Sunday, September 23, 2012

    hugs or not?

    Hi,
    I am a medical student learning about how to deliver bad news to patients.

    So can y'all tell me:

    when the doctor just told you you have cancer, would you like to be hugged, or is that unprofessional?

    should I ask for permission to give a hug? if I didn't ask, would you consider it an invasion of privacy?

    Thanks so much and looking forward to your feedback!

    85 Answers from the Community

    85 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I'm going to vote no. If you tell me that, and then give me a hug. It's like your saying, "I'm so sorry, there's nothing I can do about it". But if you just tell me that this is what you have, and this is what we are going to do about it, and this is when we are going to start, that makes me think it's not the end of the world and there is a plan in place to take care of it.

      My first diagnoses was given to me by a rookie. I must have been his first. He walks in with the folder, lays it down on the counter, chit chats for a few minutes then says lets see, I got your results, now where's that folder? Leaves the room for a few minutes and comes back in. Picks up the folder that was there all the time, and says "oh, here it is, now lets see" Then tells me I have Hodgkins disease. I had never heard of it at the time. I say, "whats that"? He says, "well, IT'S KINDA LIKE CANCER" True words.

      When you tell somebody, tell them with confidence, straight forward, with confidence. Act like it's not the end of the world, and we got this, it's going to be OK.

      But that's just me, that's how I want to roll.

      about 5 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar
      FreeBird

      The first thing I would say is remember that you have the medical perspective, and years of experience. The patient most likely does not. So I think it is important to be very clear in what you are saying. It's a confusing and overwhelming time. A doctor who takes time to sit and explain things, to anticipate questions and answer them, and to be a teacher as much as a doctor, is worth ten hugs. It's a good time to show that you know what you're doing, because it can be comforting to know they're in good hands.

      Next, be mindful of your patient, and know that your voice travels when you are in the hall outside exam rooms. This is something I have noticed a few times.

      Show up on time and apologize for being late.

      Despite what they may tell you in medical school, I like the personal approach. Be yourself. Be a real person. There are many ways to show you care, outside of a hug. I have been in many doctor offices, and the doctors who show that they care can be better than any pill they could prescribe.

      As far as physical contact, I think people are so different that some will like it, some will not. I would leave the hugging part up to them. Extend your hand out for a handshake, and give them a touch with your other hand. I don't think they're going to remember whether they were hugged or not, because it's such a shocking time. They are looking for answers and understanding. You can offer them that. Use your body language to make yourself open to a hug if they initiate it. Because people are so different, I think it's a bad time to enter their personal space unless you know them very well. A nice card in the mail a few days later might be a nice thing.

      about 5 years ago
    • nobrand's Avatar
      nobrand

      I would say no as well-- in most circumstances it would be a bit unprofessional. Now, if you have known this patient for years it may be okay.. all of it depends on the relationship established between doctor and patient.

      When I was told about my cancer, it was done quite well. My doctor had a sneaking suspicion, so she kept me prepared along the diagnostic route. When we finally knew the results, I was relieved to finally know what was going on. I could get hugs from friends and family later.

      That's not saying I haven't had hugs from lovely, professional medical workers. Usually nurses and lab techs though.. I can't recall ever hugging my doctor.

      about 5 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar
      packerbacker

      That's very interesting. I would have to agree and say no. As a nurse, I wouldn't do it at that time, either, but later, if the patient was alone and clearly upset, I would ask. It has been my experience that 100% of the time, I gave a hug, and that's almost 20 years of nursing! It really depends on the patient, also. I've had patients ask the doctor for a hug! So, who knows? Unfortunately, as the doctor, I think professional conduct would say no.

      about 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      I got the news over the phone which was just fine by me.....I would say ask your patient before you hug...I tend to be a huggy person, but if I don't know my doc, I'm not sure at the first meeting I want a hug....I was given my Dx by the breast imaging center....my first appt with onc was over 2 hours...he explained everything...but I had at this point already met with 2 surgeons......Its 6+ years now, and I'm not sure any of the docs have ever hugged me....hand shake yes

      about 5 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar
      Tracy

      Thank you for asking this question. The biggest gift a medical person can give is eye contact! I have had Dr's talk to my husband, the wall behind me, the notes in front of them but not at me. I also need a Dr to listen to what I am saying, sometimes it is nebulous like "something is just not right". I will let you know when I need a hug (and do) but some people won't. If it looks like they are falling apart you may want to ask, sometimes just a touch on the hand is all they need. Just talk to people as fellow humans, don't promise what you cant deliver but keep things as positive as you can.
      Again, Thank you so much for asking!
      Tracy

      about 5 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      I think I can help you. I am an oncology/ end of life nurse. I have patients with less than 2 weeks left of all ages so the only tool I have is a good conversation. If you need help I will be here. I will send my private email to you, Carm.

      about 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I agree with drummerboy. The "you have cancer let me give you a hug" approach conveys being at death's door. Would you hug a patient who had a cold or a sprained ankle? Both of those are bad news too. The first question most people have when they find out they have cancer is "Am I going to die?". Your hug says "Yes".

      Your "bed news" to a patient shouldn't come as a shock. Be up front with your patients when you order or get the results of any diagnostic tests. By the time the diagnosis is confirmed, the patient will already be somewhat prepared and if they need emotional support with bring a personal friend or family member with them they can hug is that is what they want or need.

      about 5 years ago
    • PTipton's Avatar
      PTipton

      My Mom's doctors would pray with her when they spent time with her and give her a hug afterwards. It always made her feel good that a doctor would take the time to pray for her and for him to help her the best he could and pray for our family as a whole.

      about 5 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar
      derbygirl

      I was told over the phone by my doctor who has been a dear friend for 18 years. It was easier for me to find out this way because I was able to collapse on my sofa and cry instead of walking out through a crowded waiting room of patients with tears flowing down my face. I would not have passed on a hug from him since he is a friend but if this was a doctor I was not close to then I would say no to a hug. I want to know that my doctor will be there to support me and help me fight my cancer. I guess it depends on the patient and the situation. Just take the lead from your patient and remember to let the patient cry, get angry, stay quiet, or whatever emotion they want to show and be there to help, for lack of a better term, to pick up the pieces, and start the fight against this horrible disease. Good luck and I'm sure you will be great because you took the time to ask a very important question which shows me that you already have one good quality a doctor should have, you care.

      about 5 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar
      princess123

      my doctor is female. She gave me all the facts. the plan of action and what to expect. On my way out she gave me a hug. I like having a hug to show that she cares. I think she realy does care because of her matter of fact way of telling me everything that's going on and most important, answering all my questions. The hug is just a friendly little hug. If my doctor were male I may have a different opinion of the hugging.

      about 5 years ago
    • ErinJ's Avatar
      ErinJ

      I loved when my doctors hugged me! The really took the time to talk to me, and my family, to ensure we all understood what was happening. Hugging really made me feel like they cared. They also hugged for celebrations: Yeah, your last radiation!

      about 5 years ago
    • ogtxaggiemom's Avatar
      ogtxaggiemom

      the doctor (and we will never go back to him under any circumstances) you ran the test went out of town and could not be able to give us the results for two weeks...we called our primary care doctor and he pushed it and got the results and called us on the phone and told us the bad news....he knows us well and knew that together we could handle it. But when we go to see him he always gives us a hug, and has even walked out thru his office to go visit my husband in the car in the parking garage. So it really depends on the relationship you have with your doctor. How many of your doctors would have bought raffle tickets to a fundraiser your friends put on for you? Ours did and they gave hundreds. We also feel very close to the cancer doctor. But our doctors know that we are very practical people and would rather hear the truth then for things to be sugar-coated.

      about 5 years ago
    • Debio's Avatar
      Debio

      I had a very different experience than most cancer patients. I was in a coma. When I emerged from the coma, I was on a ventilator. Three months after I entered the hospital, I heard the word cancer for the first time. I was so medicated and also feeling so blessed that I didn't react with anything; no tears, no why me. Just happy to be alive. N one had said stage what. I over heard a friend of mine telling a new nurse about my miraculous recovery. That is when I heard "Stage 4" For the first time. I lost it. I felt panic and I felt helpless. There was no doctor there. No expert to ask the questions that were running around in my head. Most importantly, I think being totally honest, spelling it out for a patient in language they can understand is essential. I wouldn't want a hug. I think hold my hand, explaining clearly what is the diagnosis and prognosis is primary. Then you follow the lead of the patient. If they seem to need a hug, then give it to them. If they need time and space; leave but give them the means to reach you if they have further questions.

      They told my family in April of 2010, I had 2 weeks to live. I am here, living with multiple myeloma over 2 years later. Let them know there is always hope. Sometimes a patient receives a miracle. Never give up. If you have to go down, go down fighting!

      about 5 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar
      Gena

      I would not hug. When I first heard the news I was in shock and a hug would not have helped. I was too busy trying to process the information. Just be there for any questions they may have after hearing the news.

      about 5 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      Gosh, this is a tough one. I have been told 4 times I have cancer. Once over the phone and 3 times in person. I would say no, if you have just started seeing the patient. but have plenty of tissues at hand, and be sympathetic. Once you have an established relationship with the patient and family hugs might be ok, or a sympathetic pat on the shoulder or hand. I am a huger. I recently asked my Breast Oncologist if I could hug him when he told me the latest round of chemo was working. The nurses at my Renal cell oncologist office hugged when we discovered that my breast cancer had metastasized, but these are teams I have been working with for 2 and 3 years respectively. I would feel very awkward if I was hug by someone I just started seeing for a consult.

      Let them cry, and rant and rage. Give them contact information, so they can get in touch with you after the news as sunk in so they can ask questions, etc that did not come up when you originally spoke with them.

      about 5 years ago
    • fulto11's Avatar
      fulto11

      We are sitting in this tiny room. The doctor stands at the door (with compassion) and gives us the plan for treatment. So may numbers/dates/names. Oops! I forgot to pick up my pad and start taking notes. The nurse just sits there after the doctor leaves. I start gathering my purse. I feel we are being dismissed.
      She looked at me so compassionately and stated that we were going to just sit for awhile. She also said that she knew we would be overwhelmed with questions upon leaving. She took my pad and began writing the plan of action and names of meds. In that 30 minutes...questions started coming from us. She even wanted to know about our life style.
      Now, when we walk on the floor she knows us and always has time to say hello and inquire about us.
      This lady will always have my heart. I thank her so much for just taking time with us.
      Hugs? Not at that time. We will be leary of your motive. We are about to cry. Just as drummerboy said...we see you as gloom and doom. What do you know that we don't know? His last paragraph is right on.

      about 5 years ago
    • ruthieq's Avatar
      ruthieq

      If you have developed a relationship with a patient, you'll know whether a hug is ok or not. If you've never hugged them before but feel they would not reject one, you could ask first, but generally this is seen as compassion, not unprofessional. As a RN I understand that being the bearer of bad news by some may be met with anger, and they may want to "shoot the messenger" but you'll know that ahead of time if you have a relationship with them, and know instinctively what they need or want. It does take time to develop this intuition, but TAKE the time; you'll be a better Doctor for it. If you have bad news please be sure that if they have someone with them out in the lobby that they bring them along into the room. No one should hear bad news alone. If They are alone, bring in a nurse who has a relationship with the patient...(one of them generally does), so that they can help with the grieving process. If you are new to the patient, ask one of your colleagues to come with you or do it for you as this news should be delivered by someone the patient knows, especially if the primary MD or oncologist can't be bothered to do it themselves...as sometimes happens. Good luck and hopefully you'll be in a position of being able to deliver hope along with the bad news... take care.

      about 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      I tend to go with the no hugs responses. Whether or not you do hug probably depends on the relationship between doctor and patient already established. For someone like me, raised the way I was raised (boys don't get emotional), hugs wouldn't have been the way to go. My oncologist simply told me the bad news, what it meant, and what he proposed to do. That may be best for most patients. You want to project professionalism--but you also don't want to appear cold--concern for the patient, yes.

      There probably isn't a single answer. And, the bad news isn't always so bad. My cancer is incurable, but slow acting and not an immediate threat. My mother's pancreatic cancer was a much more immediate threat. But her attitude has been, "I've had a good long life and I'm ready to die." She's more afraid of loss old age (she's 88 now) than she isyi of d

      about 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      I vote with drummer boy....If necessary... hugs can come later... After you have assured him that there is much that can be done... no need for statistics at this point in time.... Heck, my oncologist told me he didn't think I had cancer.... (Found out he said that to quite a few others too)... I do remember that after surgery when he woke me to say... Carol it was Stage IV Cancer (Ovarian).. I removed .... on and on... I was groggy and starting to fall asleep... I asked him to tell Tom gently... as I knew this would knock my husband hard.... Then as he neared the door..... I said... wait... how much time do I have?.... He turned in the doorway... looked back at me.. and said the words as he punched the door jam in anger and walked out. He said "Six Months"!

      Now that will be 7 years ago come February. I told him I wanted to fight.. We faught... After a PET CT Scan... his "I removed all the cancer I could see" turned out to be 'ALL THE CANCER".... I still remain cancer free and will always love that young doctor for his anger at this terrible desease.

      about 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      I tend to go with the no hugs responses. Whether or not you do hug probably depends on the relationship between doctor and patient already established. For someone like me, raised the way I was raised (boys don't get emotional), hugs wouldn't have been the way to go. My oncologist simply told me the bad news, what it meant, and what he proposed to do. That may be best for most patients. You want to project professionalism--but you also don't want to appear cold--concern for the patient, yes.

      There probably isn't a single answer. And, the bad news isn't always so bad. My cancer is incurable, but slow acting and not an immediate threat. My mother's pancreatic cancer was a much more immediate threat. But her attitude has been, "I've had a good long life and I'm ready to die." She's more afraid of loss old age (she's 88 now) than she is of dying.

      about 5 years ago
    • LuvinSis' Avatar
      LuvinSis

      Let the patient lead the way. As someone said, offering your hand for a handshake, be open to where the patient or family takes it.... If they lean in for a hug you can offer one. Some may not even take your hand for the handshake.

      about 5 years ago
    • liznparadise's Avatar
      liznparadise

      I'd think no. Thant might seem as though you are giving the "kiss of death" as well as not being professional. Being calm and thorough in your diagnosis would be the best approach. I was diagnosed by my gastroenterologist waking up after my colonoscopy. He was businesslike but told me he was surprised to find it. He explained what to expect for treatment. I think I would have been more afraid had he hugged me.

      about 5 years ago
    • Gmomcath's Avatar
      Gmomcath

      When I was diagnosed my doctor took as much time as I needed answering questions and explaining this to me. When I was getting ready to leave his office he did hug me which was a nice gesture. I sensed that he was very concerned for my health. I think it depends on the patient your instinct will guide you.

      about 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar
      ticklingcancer

      I think it all depends on the relationship you have with the patient. If you're seeing them for the first time, it may not be appropiate to give them a hug after giving them bad news. If the patient has come to you for a number of years, it might be a different story.

      about 5 years ago
    • akristine's Avatar
      akristine

      When I was told by my surgeon, I was sitting on the bed in the exam room and he was sitting across from me on a stool. He took my hand between his. I knew there was bad news coming but it was all right: he was the surgeon who would be performing the surgery. He said, "You have a retroperitoneal liposarcoma." I had a year of pre-med so I knew sarcoma meant cancer and where it was located. After a few tears, he explained the diagnosis, told me there would be another surgeon assisting him, and that he would take very good care of me. I don't think a hug would have helped me but the touch of his hands certainly did.

      about 5 years ago
    • wellness' Avatar
      wellness

      It is so important that for any life threatening illness you have a good bedside manner and show compassion and caring.They are starting to teach this in Med school because so many doctors do not have good bedside manners especially in dealing with cancer. Some women have been sexually abused, so it is important that you ask their
      permission for a hug, Especially if you are a male. At least be caring and compassionate especially when you are fully practicing as a doctor. The oncologists who should be the most compassionate and caring usually have the worse bedside manner according to what many patients have told me. My two Oncologists for two kinds of cancer, thank God are wonderful.

      Wellness

      about 5 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar
      Snooks

      Other than having one child, I had never had too much interaction with doctors and hospitals in general, so when my doctor told me I had breast cancer it came as an enormous shock. He reached out and hugged me, and from that moment on I knew I was going to be okay. He turned out to be one of the most wonderful and caring doctors I have ever had. Later when my husband came in the room we had a group hug - me, my husband, the doctor and his nurse. During my treatment, my immune system was compromised by the three-drug cocktail of chemotherapy that I was given. I was warned not to come into contact with children (because of the germs they carry) and under no circumstances was I to hug anyone. Try telling your grandchildren that they can't hug their nana. However, it didn't stop me as I truly believe hugs heal.

      about 5 years ago
    • BruceInErwin's Avatar
      BruceInErwin

      I think that if the doctor wants to give a hug and the patient agrees, then there is nothing wrong with that. You can convey confidence in the diagnosis and treatments and still be compassionate. I was very happy when my doctor gave me a hug and said a prayer with me after she gave me my diagnosis. We talked at length about my options and when I left her office, I had a better feeling that I was going to be cured than when I went in. My infectious disease doctor is the same way. He is compassionate but matter of fact and both of them are very knowledgeable and darn good at what they do. So I guess my long answer is yes a hug would be in order if the patient agrees and welcomes the hug. Be compassionate and matter of fact. Both can be done. All too often doctors loose their humanity and become so emotionally detached, that they come across as cold and uncaring. When a doctor is giving a patient a diagnosis that is fundamentally going to change a persons life, they need to be able to exhibit a certain amount of emotion. I don't want my doctor crying along with me, but I do want to know they care and understand what I am going through. So yes please give a hug. I am glad my doctor did. It made that long drive back home to tell my mother a lot more bearable.

      about 5 years ago
    • wushie4's Avatar
      wushie4

      As a social worker who is also a cancer patient (stage IV metastatic lung cancer), I think the first thing to remember is that when the patient is in front of you, and you've got bad news to share, they're likely already very anxious; in a state of dis-ease, if you will. They are nervous and frightened, and it's important that you meet them where they are, in their fear. Be as confident as you can be, honest and direct, but with gentleness and compassion. They will hear your diagnosis, and then everything will start sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher (wah wah wah wah wah). They likely will hear very little at the start, instead in their head, they'll be hearing something like "Oh my God! I'm going to die!" It's really important, I think, that as the one giving the news, you go slowly, take your cues from the patient and whomever is in the room with him/her, and ask good questions, like, "Do you need a private moment?" "We need to discuss a plan of action; do you want to do that now, or at another time?" "Can I get you some water?" and say things like, "Let me give you a moment for this news to sink in. Ask me any questions you want to as you process this."
      I think at the end of your discussion, then you'll have a better read on your patient and know if it is appropriate or not to offer a hug. Better to ask than to just deliver one. This way, your compassion will show as will your confidence in whatever plan of action you've laid out, even if it is to go to hospice.

      about 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Student; Stay in school. You have a lot to learn. Instead of worrying so much about what you will or won't do, try paying attention to your patient. Remember that you have no more experience than does your patient at receiving or giving such news. With the grace of the Lord, you never will. Also, please try to remember that you are neither the Designer of the Universe nor the King or Queen of Odds.

      I am gratified to read that you do understand about permission to touch versus an assault. Just try being human. Learn to feel sorrow and shame. Each situation will be somewhat different.

      You might also consider the possibility that delivering "bad news" doesn't need to be all that bad. "You have cancer" is no longer necessarily a death sentence. My radiologist lied to me about the effects of the radiation. The fella who replaced him, after I found out, refused to administer any of the after care that might have prevented the physical losses I took. I don't give a XXX that he did not know about them. He refused to investigate and to try to help me.

      Please don't ever become so pompous that you think you know it all. The best doctors anywhere believe in things which are beyond themselves and their current reach. Stay on top of new information.

      Humans are like snowflakes - all alike but each one unique. Each situation with each patient will be just like that too. familiar but entirely unique. Your patient is being placed into a situation of grief. Perhaps you could take a course in grief counseling?

      Best of luck. Stay human. If/when you find yourself thinking it is all the same, take a vacation and recharge or go back to school and learn something new.

      about 5 years ago
    • jekoontz's Avatar
      jekoontz

      Interesting question. For me the news was not much of a surprise. All of my tests and so forth seemed to be pointing in the direction of cancer. In the nearly 7-years since diagnosis I don't think I've ever had a physician hug me. A nurse or two over the years that I've gotten to know, but no docs. I think it would have made me a little uncomfortable if I'd gotten a hug - and by the way, I'm big on hugs. Seems somehow unprofessional.

      about 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      I think your demeanor and what you say is much more important than physical contact. I had considered going for a 2nd opinion when I went to my surgical oncologist. However, upon meeting him, I knew I'd found "my guy". The first words he said to me: "It's nice to meet you. I'm sorry you have to be here." That REALLY meant a lot to me. Here was a doctor who understood the emotion toll such a diagnosis takes on a patient. The best of luck to you. And as others have said, the fact that you are thinking things like this through... I think you'll have what it takes to have a good bedside manner.

      about 5 years ago
    • Laugh's Avatar
      Laugh

      I found out the diagnosis in Jan 2000, after signing my divorce papers ending a 35 yr. marriage. My OBGYN called to let me know and as I recall his soft spoken voice and good listening techniques and responses and also his knowledge of facts and how to begin the process of deciding where to go, and what was needed to look into, all became the guideposts to my lengthy journey and to recovery. Of course it was a whole lot of info and between my tears I did hear it all. Though, it took a while to process the shock of it all. Also, trusting in the individual and believing that the doctor is well informed and compassionate is a plus.

      Personally, as the recipient of hugs, which I do appreciate, I'd wait until you felt she/he is ready to accept it. (Your intuition will let you know). Not everyone communicates in their given culture with hugs. And in the midst of all that overwhelming news it may stop the flow of the process of regaining some sort of balance.

      I would also consider how a need to hug someone in their emotional pain might even be motivated by a personal need to also hug yourself as a witness to the overwhelming outcry. However, the patient comes first. LAUGH!

      about 5 years ago
    • Lindy's Avatar
      Lindy

      Well grasshopper, first know the patient, their support network, if someone is with them to give them that hug...take cues from the patient as you begin the tough discussion. I was told I had breast cancer by the radiologist, his nurse was standing beside me trying to give me a kleenex. I pushed it away, I told her I was not dead yet. Sometimes, it is the softness of the voice, the eye contact, the warm demeanor that conveys the hug. Be brave, be honest. Don't patronize us with euphemisms and incomplete information. You are the bridge to our understanding and taking control of our part of the medical relationship.

      about 5 years ago
    • MacLassie's Avatar
      MacLassie

      If it was my gp that I have been seeing for more than 10 years and with whom I have a good relationship, I would say YES. It would be a sincere expression of concern.

      From a urologist or oncologist that I just met, than I would say NO. Later on as the relationship builds and things happen, I might consider it ok.

      about 5 years ago
    • BENDINTHEROAD's Avatar
      BENDINTHEROAD

      Nope. I didn't want a friend when I was told - I wanted a medical warrior on my side. Tell me what I have and how we are going to go about fixing this. But that is just me.

      about 5 years ago
    • LoloG's Avatar
      LoloG

      When my Dr. told me I had cancer my husband was in the room with me. The Dr. first said I am going to leave the room and let this soak in. After about 5 min. he came back in to answer our questions and when we left he gave me a hug. It showed me that he cared.

      about 5 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar
      LeslieR

      I TOTALLY agree with drummerboy. To be told you have cancer is a 'rock you to the core" shocker, and then have your dr give you a hug? It's like saying "your done and this hug is all I can offer you ". Believe me, having gone through surgeries, treatment and follow up oncology appts... there was PLENTY OF TIME for hugs, and I sure got my fair share of them. But at the initial diagnosis? Not the right time. I needed to be told the facts, given a treatment plan, and then a firm handshake to let me know we're going to beat this thing together!

      about 5 years ago
    • Redd's Avatar
      Redd

      Greetings. I practiced as an LPN and an RN in two states. While providing chemo OR treating a cancer patient>>> I always tried to stress the point NOT to allow others to "Tell them what they should do" and to that patient tell them... they were importatn and needed to make their choices per self and it was ok to cry no matter what anyone told them. (Patients generally opened up to me... But THEY were the reason I do what I do.) Generally they reached out for that hug, but when not>>>> I "ALWAYS" asked permission first.... ie> "May I kiss your forhead?" "May I give you a hug?" I don't recall ever being turned down.

      OH, and an MD that treated my aunt in her last days of cancer, without asking... picked her up in hus arms like one would pick up a child "AND HELD HER THAT WAY".... while he told her what an awesome fight she put up the past three years when they gave her less than ONE.

      God bless you for your caring.

      about 5 years ago
    • Redd's Avatar
      Redd

      May I add.... If you can find it>>>> Watch the movie.... The Doctor with William Hurt. It will give you a different perspective. Patients need to know you care and you are NOT just another DX.... such as the patient is John Smith NOT TERMINAL Lung Cancer or such.

      about 5 years ago
    • ScrapbookerKay's Avatar
      ScrapbookerKay

      I am not a touchy, feely, huggy person, so I would not like a hug. The ENT that did the biopsy gave me the news. He was very direct. He said if I had gotten lymphoma 30 years ago, they would write me off. But with all the research this was totally treatable. He did tell me to stay off the internet until I met with the oncologist. That was good advice at the time, since I didn't know anything about the disease at all. When I met with the onc. he answered all my questions, I didn't feel rushed during the initial appt. at all. He even set up the first chemo before I could get the scans completed, He also gave me a great book to read that answered questions in layman terms. So, straight forward communication, without making the patient feel like you are in a hurry to get out of the room will help a lot.

      about 5 years ago
    • tatdai's Avatar
      tatdai

      yes when my DR. told me i had cancer he hug me and told me 'we"are going to get thur this Made me feel a lot better

      about 5 years ago
    • meagain's Avatar
      meagain

      Unless it were a doctor I had been going to for a very long time, I too would consider it a "poor me" message and likely not receive it as was intended. I appreciate doctors being straight up with me but some definitely do that better than others. Compassion is key but the real deal is also. It must be a terribly difficult thing for the medical team to handle well. Blee you for caring.

      about 5 years ago
    • Judit's Avatar
      Judit

      The first time I was dx w/ breast ca, the nurse told me over the phone that I should be lucky, because it's the best kind to have. Not a good solution. this time the nurse was uncomfortable & I would have appreciated her asking for a hug. I think I took it better that she expected me to. I had done my research before my app't so I was prepared. that's the part that helped me the most.

      about 5 years ago
    • judijudijudi's Avatar
      judijudijudi

      Yes, just ask. I sure there will be some that really won't want a hug, but I know I'd except one. The doctor who diagnosed me is not the type, but three other doctors in my life have given me a pat and expressed their care and concern. It really meant a lot to me. A person needs to know that he/she is not alone facing a new and frightening challenge. Thanks for your compassion.

      about 5 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar
      Crash

      It is not unprofessional to hug. As a guy I would not hug anyone unless they were crying. I was stunned and thoughtful when I was told. I don't think I needed a hug, but if someone is falling to pieces, to me, it would seem to be appropriate.

      about 5 years ago
    • akiko's Avatar
      akiko

      My answer is simply "NO". Actually the young female doctor hugged me when she told me that I have a cancer. I did not hate it but it did not help either. What I most appreciate is when a doctor give me a sincere attitude in explaining what is going on. I know doctors are very busy but we tend to expect that they give spend us enough time in giving us enough information.

      about 5 years ago
    • lexie's Avatar
      lexie

      I would have appreciated a hug when told of the shocking news that I had cancer.

      Lexie

      about 5 years ago
    • Charlieb's Avatar
      Charlieb

      I would say you need to know your patients. If you have to ask yourself if you should hug a patient, then I agree 100% with what's been said. Physical contact has to be appropriate for both parties. I had neuropathy years before I was diagnosed with cancer. There is not much my neurologist could for me. One day it felt right when he told me it had progressed he gave me a hug. I was told I had cancer over the phone. On the next visit we talked about treatment and the idea of a sct upset me a lot. He never gave me a hug. I am now seeing a different oncologist who did the BMT in June. Last month he told me my proteins did not look good and I may have to go back on chemo. When I got up to leave he gave me a hug. When I told him I was surprised he said he felt it was appropriate.

      about 5 years ago
    • doctorsol's Avatar
      doctorsol

      I have a unique perspective. I am both a cancer patient and a physician who has had to deliver the news to others. I think that if you feel close to the patient and have been their doc for a while, and you feel like hugging them, do it. I almost always ask first - "can I give you a hug?". The important thing, however, is to be honest when speaking with them. Sit down at their level, look them in the eyes and say something like, "I'm very sorry, but your test results show that you have cancer." Do not beat around the bush. Most patients pretty much know (or fear) anyway. Also know that almost anything you say to them after that statement will not be heard. They will not remember the hug, just the feeling of caring. The hug will mostly be for yourself. If you show compassion with your speech and your body language, that is just as important. Write down any information that they need to remember.

      about 5 years ago
    • dor41168's Avatar
      dor41168

      I think a touch on the hand or the arm would have been fine but a quick move into 'and here is what we are going to do about it' is what's most important. No need to hug but also, don't drop the bomb and leave me hangang without a talk about the plan that we'll form to deal with the situation. I was told, you have 'epithelioid hemangioendothelioma'. That was it. I had some students come in and ask them to tell my story, also a very 'cold' experiece - no compassion just curiosity. My best experiences have been the positive talks and attitudes that my doctors have shared or expressed.

      about 5 years ago
    • joyce's Avatar
      joyce

      The fact that you a asking this question shows that you will be a compassionate and caring doctor. Because of that, I think your instincts are probably right on target. I think you will know when a hug is needed, when a hug is not welcome, and when it is time to ask if a hug is OK. My husband, who had pancreatic cancer, says any form of encouragiement, including a hug, is welcome. As a caretaker, I really appreciated the hug my doctor gave me after Garry was diagnosed. I would encourage you to err on the side of of giving a hug when in doubt!

      about 5 years ago
    • Richardc's Avatar
      Richardc

      A great question, but I would vote no. My doctor was my surgeon. He personally called me at work to give me the pathologists report He told me the type of cancer I had, but did't tell me too much. We made an apointment for the next day and he made sure he was on time. He was straight forward and anticipated and answered all of my questions. Including - what was my prognosis.

      He didn't know. It would depend on the CT scan and subsequent surgical results. We did explore the possibilities - good and bad.

      He let me know his comfort level in performing my surgery and that he had performed a large number of my type of procedures over the years. He offered to refer me to a larger medical center that specialized in cancer for a second opinion.

      I'm thrilled I didn't go elsewhere. He has been a rock and helped guide me through the difficulties tha followed my surgery and treatment. He answered both mine and my wife's questions. He also gave me a level of confidence in how he would take care of my needs.

      about 5 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar
      HeidiJo

      I think drummerboy said it well, we would rather you come across as confidant and here is how we are going to treat this. I will say however, that I was diagnosed immediatly after surgery and my surgeon (Love Him!) sat right next to my bed and dried my tears with a tissue after he told me. I will never forget that!

      about 5 years ago
    • pastrychefsuzy's Avatar
      pastrychefsuzy

      I'm glad you asked, and the answer is "No.".

      Over the past 18 mos. since my breast cancer diagnoses, there have been several things that drove me nuts, and the hugging and touching by relative strangers as an exaggerated show of sympathy is a BIGGIE.

      And perhaps I am a cynic, but what I believe is really going on in the "huggers" mind is really something along the lines of:

      "This situation is making ME feel really nervous, so maybe if I make a BIG show of sympathy, then I will feel better about myself...".

      ...or perhaps:

      "Maybe if I show a LOT of exaggerated sympathy, I'll earn extra brownie points with God/The Universe for hugging a sick person - like Mother Teresa."

      The inappropriate touching/hugging is often accompanied by a doleful saucer-eyed pitying stare DEEP into my eyes, and a hand on my arm or shoulder, and the expression of by many assorted cliched smarmy platitudes, including:

      - "I feel your pain!"
      (No you don't!)

      - "You are a SURVIVOR!"
      (Obviously DUH!; I am standing here listening to YOU! And what was I supposed to do? Shoot myself?)

      - "You are SO brave!"
      (Hey - you don't know me, so how would you know? Maybe I'm a actually a big wimp.)

      - "I'll pray for you"
      (It's a little late for that now, don't you think?)

      - "I'll send you healing thoughts. What's your email address"
      (Or how about you come over to my house and actually HELP me when I need help?)

      - "My friend's second cousin had cancer"
      (So what?!)

      ...and the one that actually made me have to go and cry in the ladies room:

      "People like you with cancer are a gift from The Universe to show the rest of us how to really LIVE!"
      (So I have sacrificed my own breasts - and possibly my own life - to make YOU feel good about YOURSELF? Fu_k YOU!")

      about 5 years ago
    • Jay's Avatar
      Jay

      I think you have to make a judgement call on that and learn to know those that would like a hug. You will I'm sure as time goes on. A couple of my doctors always hug me and I always appreciate it as it makes me feel special.

      about 5 years ago
    • Jay's Avatar
      Jay

      Also....timing is everything :)

      about 5 years ago
    • pastrychefsuzy's Avatar
      pastrychefsuzy

      PS: Here are two real-life examples that happened to me in my own case with my own doctors:

      1) On my birthday, as usual, I go to my buddy of 20yrs., my OB/Gyn Dr. K. for my routine annual checkup.

      While I am lying there in the stirrups, I say "Hey K___ ; I have this weird knot in my shoulder, and the really weird thing is, it doesn't hurt."

      Dr. K. says (feeling the lump) "Hmmm...it's probably nothing, but I wanna make absolutely sure, so I think that I'm gonna try and get a little fluid sample...".

      Dr. K tries to get some fluid out of the lump with a syringe. It quickly becomes obvious that this is not possible, and Dr. K knows me well enough to know that I also know what this could mean. He says;

      "Go ahead and get dressed. I'm gonna call to get you in for a biopsy this afternoon".

      I say "Does it really need to be this afternoon, cause I kinda have plans this afternoon?"

      He says "Yes - it really does need to be this afternoon."

      ...and then we have a moment of eye contact that tells both of us that we both actually do know what this could really mean...

      ...and so then Dr. K says "We can fix this. It's fixable."

      THIS was exactly the right way to handle this.

      Dr. K acknowledged the seriousness of the situation AND he conveyed to me that he knew what to do - all in the space of exactly THREE sentences .

      and here is the example of what NOT to do:

      That afternoon I go to the (female) General Surgeon for the needle biopsy. Dr. Wrong has her (male, very young) assistant-of-some-sort show me to an examining room, and tell me to get undressed and put on a gown. Then I am made to wait for a long, long time alone in the room in a paper gown with nothing to read, except for the pamphlets about breast cancer which are displayed in a rack on the counter.

      Dr W. walks into the room alone. She then proceeds to use some sort of very loud and painful punch to cut chunks out the lump under my collar bone. She looks at the lumps of my flesh in the plastic specimen jar, and she says:

      "Yep - THAT is a Carcinoma."

      ...She then turns on her heel and abruptly walks out of the room, closing the door behind her. I sit there for awhile in the paper gown, alone, wondering what I'm supposed to do. I finally stick my head out of the door, and I can hear Dr. W talking to another patient in another examining room. I can see the (young male) assistant sitting at the reception desk talking on the phone.

      I get dressed, and I wander out to the desk and say "What am I supposed to be doing?".

      He says "What did she say". I say "Umm, I think that she said I have cancer.".

      He says "Oh, well then I'm not sure. I guess that you can wait in her office until she's done with the other patient...".

      I sit in her office, alone.

      And then suddenly, it hits me. And I feel like I'm choking...and I can't breathe...and I call my 17 yr. old daughter at school on her cellphone, and I blurt out "Dr. K sent me to this other doctor, and now this doctor thinks that I have cancer!"

      The events of that afternoon were so traumatic for my daughter that she has only recently been able to tell me what then happened to her at school, in class, after that phone call.

      I could possibly forgive Dr. Wrong for her lack of bedside manner, since she is, after all, a surgeon.

      -What I can NOT forgive Dr. Wrong for is the pain that she caused my daughter.

      about 5 years ago
    • miscyn57's Avatar
      miscyn57

      I agree with drummerboy...my mom's doctor looked at her and said "Oh my god! You have leukemia and without treatment you have 6 months!" Like getting hit in the face with a cast iron pan, jeez! She eventually went to MD Anderson where the doctor told her the type of leukemia and how he was going to treat her. Straight up! And now I'm happy to say she is in 100% remission. Be honest with patients and speak in "layman's" terms. Freebird is right about it being confusing and overwhelming, even for the family. Caring about people and being compassionate is something more doctors should practice. Honesty is always the best policy. No hugging until you cure me.

      about 5 years ago
    • bcs4's Avatar
      bcs4

      I would say.... no hug.

      However please don't do what my doctor did back in 2005 with my first time diagnosed.

      First I got a call about a half hour after leaving the doctors office (and about 2 hours after having my biopsy) The doctors receptionist told me: "you have come back here as soon as possible. The doctor really needs to talk to you about your tests."

      I had my husband turn the car around and head back. (I knew I had cancer right then)
      When we got to the office the doctor was no where to be found. However she sent her med-assistant (normally a very grouchy woman) in to see me first. She just kept asking me if there was anything she could do for me. She kept "fawning" all over me, offering coffee, tea, candy, cookies and telling me how sorry she was for me. Never said anything about my having cancer.

      After a few minutes I simply told her " Please relax, listen I know I have cancer and I'll just wait here for the doctor." She was very relieved said "Oh Thank God! Did the doctor tell you already?"
      I said; "No but it's pretty obvious". She turned and left the room.

      My doctor was just about the same but without offering me "treats". She kept saying she was sorry and then told me that I was the 11th woman that week that she had to tell had breast cancer. It was "so sad" that she had to tell so many women they had cancer in such a short time.
      I asked a few questions. Her receptionist handed me a bunch of referrals.

      I didn't cry. I understood what was going to happen from that point on. I just would have appreciated some one being direct with me. I'm a big girl I can handle it. *I had been seeing this doctors for quite awhile. They should have known me.

      Just be kind and respectful. Know your patients. We're really a nice bunch of people. We're just like you, your friends and family.

      about 5 years ago
    • Beaner54's Avatar
      Beaner54

      I agree totally with FreeBird..be professional and open to all concerns and questions. Never make a patient feel like just another case.

      about 5 years ago
    • u2bnpc's Avatar
      u2bnpc

      Dear Txmedstudent,

      As far as I am concerned, you are well on your way to becoming an excellent doctor and I am very proud of you for even asking the question. Most doctors would not even think to ask!

      Based on my personal experience, I would suggest sitting next to your patient, not behind a desk, and telling her the test results are back and the diagnosis is cancer. And, this is what we are going to do about it. Chances are the patient already knows the results are not positive. A pat on the hand would probably be appropriate at this point. If you already have a good and long history with the patient, you will be able to tell by her body language whether or not a hug would be appropriate or invasive. Demonstrating caring and compassion to a patient who is frightened and has just received the news about cancer is never unprofessional in my opinion.

      I hope this helps to answer your questions. Best of luck to you in medical school and in your chosen field. Just so you know, my doctors, who I have known for quite some time hug me and I just love it!

      about 5 years ago
    • u2bnpc's Avatar
      u2bnpc

      Dear Txmedstudent,

      As far as I am concerned, you are well on your way to becoming an excellent doctor and I am very proud of you for even asking the question. Most doctors would not even think to ask!

      Based on my personal experience, I would suggest sitting next to your patient, not behind a desk, and telling her the test results are back and the diagnosis is cancer. And, this is what we are going to do about it. Chances are the patient already knows the results are not good. A pat on the hand would probably be appropriate at this point. If you already have a good and long history with the patient, you will be able to tell by her body language whether or not a hug would be appropriate or invasive. Demonstrating caring and compassion to a patient who is frightened and has just received the news about cancer is never unprofessional in my opinion.

      I hope this helps to answer your questions. Best of luck to you in medical school and in your chosen field. Just so you know, my doctors, who I have known for quite some time hug me and I just love it!

      about 5 years ago
    • u2bnpc's Avatar
      u2bnpc

      Dear Txmedstudent,

      As far as I am concerned, you are well on your way to becoming an excellent doctor and I am very proud of you for even asking the question. Most doctors would not even think to ask!

      Based on my personal experience, I would suggest sitting next to your patient, not behind a desk, and telling her the test results are back and the diagnosis is cancer. And, this is what we are going to do about it. Chances are the patient already knows the results are not good. A pat on the hand would probably be appropriate at this point. If you already have a good and long history with the patient, you will be able to tell by her body language whether or not a hug would be appropriate or invasive. Demonstrating caring and compassion to a patient who is frightened and has just received the news about cancer is never unprofessional in my opinion.

      I hope this helps to answer your questions. Best of luck to you in medical school and in your chosen field. Just so you know, my doctors, who I have known for quite some time hug me and I just love it!

      about 5 years ago
    • dora201077's Avatar
      dora201077

      no, no hugs, simply focus on what you can still medically recommend. They have families to be hugged by. My husband was diagnosed and all we expected from docs was medicine.

      about 5 years ago
    • thomasreid3md's Avatar
      thomasreid3md

      As a medical oncologist for many years I get a sense of when an individual may benefit from a hug.

      I was surprised at how many folks really benefited from hugs.

      about 5 years ago
    • Tplss96's Avatar
      Tplss96

      My father's doctor rubbed my shoulder as he told me how sorry he was. Learn to read people's reactions, I think a hug would be perfectly acceptable and appreciated! If you don't know whether to full-on hug, just put your hand on their shoulder as you say, "I'm so terribly sorry, we're going to do everything we can." THAT is a wonderful reassurance and gesture of kindness and compassion.

      A hug doesn't mean "There's nothing I can do about it".... it's cancer... you'll do exactly what you can, but everyone knows there is no guarantee.

      about 5 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar
      LauraJo

      I would vote MAYBE for the hug...I think you will have to learn to judge the situation. My gynecologist found my tumor and sent me to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy, who sent me to a surgeon who had "an opening tomorrow." All this hurry-up didn't seem very positive, so I was somewhat prepared for bad news. My surgeon actually told me, and brought both of his PA's into the room, I guess in case my husband and I were too stunned to cope. Dr. Marc was very very positive, professional and business-like - "well, it's definitely cancer, and this is what we are going to do about it." He laid the whole next year out for me, and then said "It'll just be a bad year for you." No suggestion at all of a death sentence. When he was done (and he spent a long time answering questions, drawing pictures) one of the PAs (female) gave me a hug, and said "You'll get through this." I remember that, and I also remember, in the blur of days that followed, both my gynecologist & gastroenterologist, calling me to ask how I was doing, and to offer their help. Hugs are great, and MAY be appropriate, but those two phone calls meant a great deal to me, and showed that those two doctors really cared. That is something you may want to keep in mind. And for an example of what NOT to do - watch the movie 50-50, and see how the doctor delivers the bad news. Just awful.

      about 5 years ago
    • melee_me's Avatar
      melee_me

      No hugs - as a mum who sat with my daughter while she received terminal cancer diagnosis, I resented the 'compassion' in the oncology nurse's voice as she said "it's a shock isn't it?" It's hard enough staying 'normal' & not flipping out when hearing the diagnosis, adding physical contact makes it weird as well. I think the doc/nurse would be giving the hug more for themselves as they feel helpless than for the patient. That's my view from the other side of the issue.

      about 5 years ago
    • sbmontgomery's Avatar
      sbmontgomery

      No Hugs. Just sit there and do nothing. Let it soak in for a moment. Be there saying nothing, give me a moment to respond and ask questions. They may be dumb or smart questions but there will be questions. Be ready to respond, do not sugar coat anything just answer them clearly as long as I need to ask them. Don't rush me and ask "Is there anything else I can tell you". There will be more just sit and be patient with me. That's just the way I was.

      about 5 years ago
    • Sugarshine's Avatar
      Sugarshine

      I would have appreciated being the first one to know. I wasn't home when the doctor called so he told my husband. Unaware of this I remembered I should be hearing from him and called his office while I was out, don't know why I did but I asked them not to tell anyone but me the results, never dreaming they would HIPPa act right?, well they told my husband then called me when I got home and told me, it sucked being told on the phone, couldn't think of the questions I wanted to ask. I needed to process it myself first, it's my choices and I am the one to deal with the pain and emotional baggage. Instead I had to take care of my husband before I could take care of me!

      almost 5 years ago
    • sweethart2912's Avatar
      sweethart2912

      I would rather you just be straight forward with me and tell me about what I have and what my options and what outcomes I can expect. It was what my doctor did and I think it was best for me. Judge what your patient needs and if they ask to be held for a moment that is their option. Just don't be cold.

      almost 5 years ago
    • sweethart2912's Avatar
      sweethart2912

      I would rather my doctor look me in the eye and tell me what is wrong, what my treatment options are and what outcomes I can expect. My doctor was very open with me and gave me what I needed at that time. Later in my treatment a touch of my hand and a heartfelt thought really helped. The Dr. gave me a number where I could always leave a message and he would get back to me with answers. Worked for me definitely would not want him or her to hug me unless I ask.

      almost 5 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar
      fastdog

      The doctor who told me was not my usual dr. and I had only seen him once for an exam and this 2nd time to get results of a test. He said he could be wrong, but the CT scan looked as if I had ovarian cancer. This dr. was not touchy-feely, and anyway, we were in shock. He said he was referring me to an oncol/gyn surgeon. As we left, he patted my arm and wished me good luck. In retrospect, I appreciated his straightforward approach, and just that little human touch. A hug would not have been comfortable at all. We have a friend who is a physician, and he has to tell people several times a week that they have cancer. I believe, as many times as they do this, that it is also pretty unpleasant for the medical people to give this news. Unless you have a long-standing relationship with your patient, I would say that when giving this devastating diagnosis is probably not the time for a hug.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      When my mom's doctor told us she had cancer she hugged us both. She had cared for my mom for a few years after my mom's original doctor retired and I thought it showed her compassion.
      I, on the other hand, was informed I had cancer over the phone, by my doctor's partner, a woman I never met. I thought it the most callous way of informing a patient they have cancer. This woman did not know my history or social situation. My doctor knew I had no immediate family and lived alone. He would have known it was not a good idea to tell me this over the phone whiel I had no support system.

      almost 5 years ago
    • bevinpink's Avatar
      bevinpink

      I would love for my oncologist to hug me. I don't know if right after you tell them they have cancer is the best time but I bet a touch to the hand or the shoulder would mean alot. This is my 2nd time with cancer & when I was told I had Stage IV cancer I really needed a hug. I think you have to get to know your patient 1st & go from there. Sometimes speaking from your heart is the best medicine.

      almost 5 years ago
    • meagain's Avatar
      meagain

      I will answer....probably NO HUG unless Doc is a long time Doc who you know quite well. I did however recently have a new Oncologist who I really felt comfortable with, liking her very much. It was not when I was diagnosed however...it was when she referred me on to another specialist she felt would be better for me. I asked for a hug when I left. I say in most cases it would make me feel like "the End" if it were at time of diagnosis. And it is never...."the end!"

      almost 5 years ago
    • meagain's Avatar
      meagain

      I will answer....probably NO HUG unless Doc is a long time Doc who you know quite well. I did however recently have a new Oncologist who I really felt comfortable with, liking her very much. It was not when I was diagnosed however...it was when she referred me on to another specialist she felt would be better for me. I asked for a hug when I left. I say in most cases it would make me feel like "the End" if it were at time of diagnosis. And it is never...."the end!"

      almost 5 years ago
    • meagain's Avatar
      meagain

      I will answer....probably NO HUG unless Doc is a long time Doc who you know quite well. I did however recently have a new Oncologist who I really felt comfortable with, liking her very much. It was not when I was diagnosed however...it was when she referred me on to another specialist she felt would be better for me. I asked for a hug when I left. I say in most cases it would make me feel like "the End" if it were at time of diagnosis. And it is never...."the end!"

      almost 5 years ago
    • meagain's Avatar
      meagain

      I will answer....probably NO HUG unless Doc is a long time Doc who you know quite well. I did however recently have a new Oncologist who I really felt comfortable with, liking her very much. It was not when I was diagnosed however...it was when she referred me on to another specialist she felt would be better for me. I asked for a hug when I left. I say in most cases it would make me feel like "the End" if it were at time of diagnosis. And it is never...."the end!"

      almost 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      My Oncologist said he didn't think I had ovarian cancer... But that he wanted to remove the tumor in case it was. It was, of course, and it weighed 39 pounds. (Stage IV). Then he removed the cancer he could see from my eruetha and my intestine.... He asked my husband for permission to insert a port onto one of my ribs for I/P infuaion of chemo. When I woke up he told me it was ovarian cancer and that he'd removed all he could see... This was the first tim;e anyone who'd seen me said the words. We all knew but no one said. I then asked this wonderful Gynecologic Oncologist Surgeon, how much time I had left. He was on his way out, as I was so groggy, I must have just fallen asleep after asking him to please be gentle telling my husband. I called out to him... How much time do I have? He punched the doorway... and said 5 months. Then he walked out. I was groggy, and closed my eyes. I thought about April/May... then I remember thinking Thank God it will be warm the kids and Tom won't freeze... and driffted off to sleep. I will always treasure the look of anger on his face when he said... "Six Months"

      The next time we talked, I told him I wanted to fight.... He put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it he had a broad smile and said. You want to fight Carol.... We're going to fight! We did, that was 7 years ago... and I'm still cancer free. Almost a year of I/V Chemo and I/P Chemo.. Then he saw results of an other treatment showing promice... I did one chemo a month for two years. That wonderful man cared so much. But I agree with Greg... keep it short. - Keep it professional... and tell me how we're going to kill it. God bless you for taking on this job! I knoq it won't be easy.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ogtxaggiemom's Avatar
      ogtxaggiemom

      our family doctor always gives us a hug but then he is very special to us. I think if you reached over and took their hand and maybe put the other one on their shoulder they would then reach for the hug. Our cancer doctor always touches us in one way or another and it makes us feel better.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ogtxaggiemom's Avatar
      ogtxaggiemom

      Our family doctor always give us a hug. Our oncologist always touches us in one way or another and it makes us feel better. I think if you reached over and took their hands and maybe put your hand on their shoulder if they wanted a hug and they would then feel comfort to get one.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Yorkleeann's Avatar
      Yorkleeann

      Because you are the doctor, I expect you to have the plan.

      Know YOUR limitations. If working with a cancer/patient that you aren't well versed in-refer to someone who is. Do Not Play G-d. Stay humble. Check yourself-ask how you would tell your mom, dad, sister/brother, child, wife/husband good/bad news.

      No Hugs. You are the doctor. Keep it professional. There are other ways to show compassion. My husband (the patient) shakes his oncologist's hand; firmly. The onc smiles and looks him in the eye. Consistently. That's enough for him.

      Unless solid science or the patient determines the fight is over, ALWAYS STAY POSITIVE. When the patient is exhausted, discouraged, sick, weak-he is looking to you to coach him and keep hope going.

      Take care of yourself off the clock. Have a good support system of your own.

      over 3 years ago

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