Doctors and empathy

A Better NHS


“My back is killing me doctor, I’ve barely been able to get out of the house for the last few days, I’ve hardly slept, I’m in agony”

“uh huh … and, um, when did it start?”

“A few days ago … I’m really worried, I’ve got two kids, I’m on my own and if I don’t get to work I don’t get paid, I’ve been in tears all morning, I can’t cope any more …”

“mmm, right, and er, have you had pain like this before?”

“yes, but never this bad, sorry -[cries] do you have any tissues?”

“oh, yeah, sure, there you go. So, um, have you taken anything for it?”


I wonder why it is that not a single medical practitioner has said to me that they are sorry to hear I am ill. Such a banal social convention: I am sorry to hear about your illness…

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