Today I attended a talk that discussed some interesting and controversial issues about medicine and health care delivery. I only mention it because the presenter quoted some study on patient perceptions of their doctors. In 2003 in America (and likely can be extrapolated to Canada), about 75% of patients surveyed said they felt their physicians were empathetic/compassionate in their encounters. In 2013, only 34% said they felt empathy/compassion from their physicians.
Is this 40% drop in physician empathy the result of physicians becoming bad at this aspect of medicine, or is it because our society as a whole is becoming bad at this aspect of humanity? If you read my recent post on Empathy, I know you know what I think… And that position was even validated with my recent friendship woes.
I watched this video today and it really moved me. I have spent all day thinking about the instances in my own life where I can be more empathetic – So much so, that I wonder if I’m even doing a good job as a physician myself. I urge you to watch the video and then to think about the tole of empathy in your own life.