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Practice empathy and compassion for the critically ill and dying

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Practice empathy and compassion for the critically ill and dying

"It seems as though the looming reality for many of us is that we will have patients who need ventilators, and none will be available. It seems like we might…
August 1, 2020

Practice empathy and compassion for the critically ill and dying

“It seems as though the looming reality for many of us is that we will have patients who need ventilators, and none will be available. It seems like we might benefit from remembering that we can still succeed in practicing medicine by being present with those suffering before us, even when we know we cannot cure them of disease.

In a more pragmatic sense, maybe in addition to logistical discussions and articles about how ERs and ICUs are going to decide who should get a ventilator, we should also discuss how we are going to communicate with empathy and compassion to the families of the critically ill and dying; there are ways to learn to do this well that alleviates heartache for families and for physicians.”

Elaine M. Colby is a family physician.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “When should we start having a discussion about palliative and end of life care?” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/03/when-should-we-start-having-a-discussion-about-palliative-and-end-of-life-care.html)

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