The Art of Breaking Bad News Well: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Art of Breaking Bad News Well

1st Edition

By Jalid Sehouli

CRC Press

112 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367356682
pub: 2019-10-15
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9780367364748
pub: 2019-10-15
Available for pre-order

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The way a doctor delivers news to a patient is vital, as it can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life, the way they experience their treatment. and even the effect that can have on their medical condition. The doctor's behaviour and attitude matters as much as the news itself; and even good news can be received differently depending on how it is communicated. This book, from a cancer expert, relies on a wealth of personal experience, but also has valuable lessons for those not working in medicine.

Table of Contents


The moment of encounter - "Please come in": Two people meet

1 Who Needs This Book, and why a Doctor had to Write it

Breaking Bad News

Unbearable Fear

How is Communication Taught and Learned?


A Topic that Affects us All—Even in Private

2 Breaking Bad News Well

A Visit from the Head Doctor

An Afternoon Walk

Preparingfor an Existential Conversation

What do Patients Expect of a Good Doctor?

Being Aware of One’s Role

Doctor, Why Am I So Hoarse?

How Do I Start a Conversation When Sharing Bad News?

Difficulties in Understanding

Why Silence is Sometimes the Best Answer

In the Stairwell

The Decisive Question

Truthfulness and Trust

Allowing Space for Theories of Illness and Speaking with each Other

The sad message about Mamed

The Message

The Bigger Picture: Turning Relatives into Allies

What Helps People to Assimilate Bad News?

The Leap

Learning from Life Experience

Spirituality—Hope in Hopeless Times

"I Won’t Give Up, After All"

Finishing and Documenting the Conversation

"Mommy is very sick"

Examples From Outside Medicine

The Father and the Young Policeman

3 On the Search for Good News

Changing Perspective

The Good Evening News

The Chess Flower

Finding the Good in the Bad—A Question of Timing

Back at Office Hours

4 Moscow

In Place of an Author’s Biography: My Saddest, and Most Beautiful News

What Happened with Susanne Sieckler?

Appendixes: Help for helpers, recipients and relatives

A1 Brief summary of the SPIKES method

A2 Guidelines for Announcing a Death

A3 Breaking Bad News — Seminars

A4 Checklists for Communicating Bad News

A5 Selected Scientific Research


About the Author

Jalid Sehouli is Professor at the Medical University of Berlin and Director of the Gynaecology Clinic, Head of the European Competence Center for Ovarian Cancer, and Head of the Interdisciplinary Center of Gynaecological Cancer at the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center, Berlin, Germany. He is the author or editor of over 50 books or chapters and over 20 patient brochures and resources.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / General
MEDICAL / Family & General Practice
MEDICAL / Oncology