Breaking Bad News


You are the SPR in Trauma and Orthopaedic on call and are called by A+E to assess a patient who has right thigh pain. The following plane film radiograph has been obtained. 

  • Wash your hands
  • Introduce yourself
  • Confirm patient identity
  • Explain purpose of your consultation – “My accident and emergency colleagues have asked me to come and see you regarding your leg pain.”
  • Determine the patients baseline investigations “What do you know about the investigations that have been done so far and what they were for?”
  • Describe the sequence of events
  • Deliver the information in sizable chunks
  • Give warning shots
  • Allow for silence
  • Avoid jargon
  • Check patient’s understanding throughout
  • Summarise

We would like to discuss your case with our medical/oncology colleagues and discuss your case in our local multidisciplinary team.

Whilst we do that we would also like to do some further investigations which include blood tests and imaging.