Seven years ago, on a hill overlooking Portland, I taught fifteen medical students how to say “I’m sorry.” It wasn’t part of their curriculum. It wasn’t why I was invited to speak.
But life is about seizing opportunities. In this case, the opportunity was to transform the grief of losing a child into a teachable moment. Not by lecturing. Not even by telling a story. But by cajoling future doctors to say out loud the words I wished I had heard six months before.
What followed was a test case for the notion that you are what you say—and that what you say matters—a lot.
The invitation came from an OB/GYN known in the community for being compassionate with patients, particularly those with difficult pregnancies. He wasn’t our physician, but he heard about us through the grapevine. We knew him by reputation. [Read more…] about Teaching Doctors How to Say “I’m Sorry”