How Should Providers Deliver Bad News?


Delivering bad news is always hard, but certain communication techniques can make the experience less difficult for the patient and family. Dr. Michael Haglund, a Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, demonstrates a bad example and a good example of how providers deliver bad news. The video is based on the work of Dr. Neil S. Prose and filmed with actors playing the role of the parents of a young child.

This video was produced by Firestream Media with a grant from the Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Fund. For more on how the creators used this video as part of a program on physician-patient communication, read this article in the Journal of Surgical Education.

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  1. International Harvester says

    Good acting, thank you, seriously, it hits home.

  2. Paul Daystar says

    The Real Good News is we don’t Need surgery at all, we can dissolve these with Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, mushroom tea and eliminating junk food

  3. All life Joke says


  4. Tim Allen says

    Thought it was just the flu… Surprise!

  5. Marijo Heffner says

    This is a wonderful example oh how not to talk to families. What I am surprised is the Chaplain did not accompany the Dr. The Chaplain can be a source of comfort for the family.

  6. Chris says

    Didn’t really seem like the doctor was giving them the option on whether to do the surgery or not do the surgery.It sounded like the the doc and hospital were telling the parents that their son is getting the surgery whether you want him to have it or not

  7. Dr Mofazzal says

    Clearly empathy was not there…tone of voice should be changed..after delivery he should say like we are very very sorry.He should say like i myself is feeling very bad that i have to deliver this bad news to you..

  8. Phương Hòa says

    i want to find another video that similar that video( about shouldn't and should do when giving bad news in medicine). please help me. are you have key word for find it? im so sorry if you difficult to understand me because i'm from vietnm and i'm not good at english.

  9. Connie Klein says

    This happened to my husband. The doctor came in and stated to my husband that he had a “glioblastoma that is incurable and had three months to live”. He didn't introduce himself or say anything to me. He leaned against the door and said what he said. He left. Immediately I told the nurse we won't be having him as our doctor. A few hours later another surgeon came in, walked over to my husband, shook his hand, shook my hand and hugged me. He walked over to my husband, sat on the bed while holding his hand and said “I am here to answer all your questions”. He operated on my husband's brain tumor. He lived one year, sixty-three days.

  10. Hartley Ransom-Leland says


  11. Rawie Plays says

    The doctor doesn't give two shits about little Jimmy. He knows that kid is fucked and he can't wait for this to be over so he can do some coke off a nurses ass.

  12. Irenee Shubert says

    Walk them through. Don't act like a factory.

  13. Ken Broadway says

    The second time was definitely better. Much better.

  14. First Last says

    My grandma had an emergency room doctor tell her she was going to die. That's exactly how he said it. He didn't even have the decency not to say it in front of her. "You're going to die. This (blood clot in her colon) is going to kill you." For the next 2-3 days, my grandma was absolutely terrified. She died a little over 4 days later, aged 96. (I was never in contact with the rude doctor.)

  15. Vernice says

    Never have been a fan of Duke. The first scenario in my opinion, is pretty close to the experiences I’ve had of my own and family members. Do you think he could have showed the scan to the family so they can actually see it?

  16. Galvy RC says

    Reaction-Mom- ? cryingDad- ?? looking back and forth like a fucking bird

  17. Anton Kider says

    Bad doctor forgot to say that the kid only has a 5% of chances to survive the surgery.

  18. Christina Skiles says

    Wow In the beginning I thought this was real. My sister had heart surgery her St was that way. Lung de said on day 5 she will not live heart dr be like she be ok she walk-in she will walk out. After 10 more surgeries all organ failure 33 day’s later she died. Dr never spoke to her husband. Again said nothing. The nurses had to step in and over ride the dr. So awful

  19. Robin Adams says

    Doctors need to stop misleading patients, people have the right to know, why do the patient need to ask questions when we are clueless that's why we come to a doctor.

  20. tristancameron4 says

    Lol this real lol

  21. Rachel Goldman says

    When I was 15 I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I didn't know til a cpl months ago that fainted when they told her.? As a parent myself now I can't even imagine the surprise & shock! Love ya mom ❤❤❤❤

  22. ( ͡°ᴥ ͡° ʋ) Marian. says

    Great, now everytime a doctor sits down I'm going to be bracing for bad news.

  23. Mary Barton says

    Very cold! Seriously?

  24. Yuma says

    I think mom wants to be an actor one day and is trying to grab some attention lol

  25. West Coast Or Bust says

    As a black woman this treatment is the norm. ??‍♀️

  26. Michael Rager says


  27. Grizzly Echols says

    I personally don't care much how he delivers the news either way. In a way, the first way is better because I don't care for a lot of phony chitchat before the bad news. Just give me the facts. We'll deal with it.

  28. Ryuzaki Azzouz says

    The father is like, wth am I doing here? And who the hell is lil Jimmy?

  29. thavam base says

    ITs sad how real the first scenario is……its how one doctor told us my grandfather had cancer "Oh yea i did the scope it looks like he has some sorta cancer…you guys go wait out front."

  30. TheNraveles says

    "Oh you guys are the Johnsons? Oh little Jimmy's parents? Brain Tumor Jimmy?""B..brain tumor??""Oh shit…yeah he has a brain tumor. They didnt tell you yet?""He just came it with nausea and a headache! How is it a tumor?" "Well sometimes things go wrong in the ole noggin ya know. You thought it was the flu? Yikes, more like "whew, he's off my hands now huh Rick."bawling into shirt Yup..yessiree..yeah. just gonna go. Oh by the say, if you already got him christmas presents, I'd sell them if I were you. All right see ya guys later. Peace.

  31. Sherly Tanco says

    The first example is how doctors actually deliver this kind of news in Puerto Rico, they don’t have time to sit down and have a long talk with patients relatives.

  32. Diavolo B. Navarro says

    the first part was funny as fuck.

  33. Francisco Fernandes says

    In my country, the doctors tell you half truth and tell you the cost of treatment. When you tell the doctor that you don't have the money then he shall tell you the complete truth.

  34. AD Electronic Teardowns says

    What dumbass from IHI allowed comments?

  35. Brix X says

    "Any other questions?" That would be so rude^^

  36. 7.756.935 says

    The bad doc had a nice twin!

  37. Andrew Haubois says

    Dad looks like he came from the bar and met mom at the hospital Haha

  38. M Bane says

    at first i was wow this was good until the doctor said “oh yeah lil jimmy on the bed, yeah he has a tumor” like lmao

  39. Griffin D says

    How do you tell them their son is dead

  40. Rob Peters says

    The doctor should also give statics on how common it is and, if its in an easier area of the brain to take out

  41. OSHA Dan says

    and then you go home and drink a beer. You forgot that step.

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