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How Are Doctors Expected to Talk about Patients? « Berman Institute Bioethics Bulletin

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I tried something new these past couple of weeks. Whenever a resident presented a patient to me (as is required), I listened to the introduction, smiled, and then let myself interrupt with the following request:

“Please tell me one non-medical thing about the patient.”

You see, most often, the patient is presented this way: “Mr. S. is a 69-year-old man with CKD [chronic kidney disease], bipolar [disorder], CAD [coronary artery disease], hypertension and hyperlipidemia, here for follow-up.” But I was interested in knowing something about the patient as a person, when he’s not in clinic.

The residents’ responses to this request of mine seemed to fall into one of several categories.

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ACP Internist

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