What a doctor can teach you about empathy

What a doctor can teach you about empathy

It seems strange an oncologist’s death would warrant much news coverage. But the passing of Dr. Robert Buckman was obituated in newspapers, magazines and television around the world.

Dr. Buckman, as his cousin wrote in MacLean’s, made dying his life’s work and while many a doctor face the same duties as he did, Dr. Buckman did it with kindness, care and above all, empathy.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, researched is noted that shows doctors who are said to rush through appointments or whose phone calls are ignored have a much higher instance of being sued for malpractice than those who are said to be more attentive.

So what does more attentive look like? A 1997 study by Dr. Wendy Levinson, shows three minutes is the difference between being sued and not.

Surely three minutes of more stone-cold conversation isn’t going to do the trick, is it?

Dr. Buckman’s reputation for empathy is quite literally legendary. Fortunately he sums it up in a few easy steps to mastering empathy: listen, don’t be afraid to laugh and show concern.

If a doctor can do it with patients facing imminent death, it shouldn’t be hard for the rest of us.

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