Bad News and Big Toes


This week Studoc is learning how to deliver bad news.

Thankfully, unlike the comic, he is practicing on standardized patients.  (Paid actors trained to simulate real patients with particular health situations.)

Yesterday, a few lucky med students got to practice delivering bad news to the "patients" while the rest of the med students watched and openly critiqued them...hmm, no pressure, right?

Naturally, Studoc was one of the lucky chosen, and he was issued the hardest scenario that nobody wanted to get.  One student had to tell their "patient" they had pancreatic cancer, another had to give sad news of a miscarriage, another had to tell the son of a patient that their father who was set to leave the hospital that day suddenly had a heart attack and died, and a few other scenarios that of course are difficult, but yet "easy" in this exercise because the "doctor" mainly explains and consoles.

Enter Studoc's scenario which I will only sum up (each situations has a ton of made up details to make it sufficiently complicated).  Studoc's male patient contracted gonorrhea (had to look up how to spell that by the way!) while his military wife was deployed  and just recently returned.  So Studoc had to explain to them that the husband has an STD which implied that the husband had an affair and the wife needed to be tested because she probably has an STD now. Crazy, right?

Stop and take a breather here, friends.  This situation, though plausible, is not real.  Let's insert a happy face emoticon here ----> :)

Suddenly, the situation back at the "doctor's office" started to get amusing.  The husband and wife began a dramatic argument in front of Studoc (they were great actors I'm told).  The fighting is funnier if you know the husband was an old guy wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses and speaking with a southern drawl.  I doubt I could keep a straight face watching this scene knowing it's a fake fight!


I know from personal experience that Studoc will be compassionate while delivering bad news.  At the beginning of our dating courtship, he had to sit me down and tell me that one of my friends--one of my only friends in the new city I recently moved to--had just died.  He did a perfect job communicating it to me directly and sensitively.  

Shortly after, I reflected on what a difficult thing he had to do so early in our relationship and how well he did it, I was always impressed and said to myself, "Self, this is the kind of man you want to marry.  The kind that can help you through hard times extremely well like that."

So I married him.  (When did this post become my life story??)  Let's just conclude here with a random picture of our son sucking his big toe.


Anonymous said...

i LOVED this post. I don't know that my husband ever had a lesson on breaking bad news to patients. Maybe he has and just never told me about it.

Also- I love that you knew from the beginning that he is capable of being sensitive and compassionate when delivering this kind of news.

And- I love the picture of your kid sucking his toes.

Anonymous said...

That has to be one of the hardest parts of being a doctor! I agree that it's so critical... And I know my husband is good at it too, because he's so frank and matter-of-fact, while still being compassionate. It's actually a little irritating when he's your husband, but I can imagine how comforting it would be to have him be your physician.

Love the photo of your son! What a cutie!

Just Another Doctor's Wife said...

What a lovely post... your guy definitely seems like a great guy and will make a great doc, especially with such a supportive person like you by his side. So sweet. (But not sweeter than that adorable photo of your son... he's adorable!)

Keely said...

Wow! Is it sick that I really wish I could have seen these actors? Great post! And your son is so stinking cute!

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