Disability, Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity - What are they and why are they important?
How to cope
When a new diagnosis is received, as a person it can create many questions, concerns and uncertainties. As a doctor receiving a new diagnosis, this mental process can be very different.
Where a person who is not a medical doctor would have many questions about the nature of the diagnosis, the prognosis, the usual clinical course, etc., these gaps in knowlege are likely to be at least partly filled by some pre-existing medical knowledge in the mind of a doctor. Of course, there are always exceptions and it may be that the diagnosis received by the doctor is one that they have very little prior knowledge of.
For a doctor receiving a new diagnosis, our minds are often accelerated by our knowledge, past the questioning stages straight to the stages of denial, anger and bargaining. This may mean that we make incorrect assumptions based on our own flawed medical knowledge and do not seek to clarify these.
It is therefore useful to have a pre-determined process to follow when receiving such news. This helps to ensure that our reactions are logical, helpful and proactive rather than reactionary, random and potentially detrimental.
It is a very similar situation when a pre-existing condition undergoes a significant deterioration or progression. The doctor would presumably have prior knowledge and understanding of the condition. However, it may be that the doctor was living under ‘false hope’ after a period of stability, or never really came to terms with the diagnosis at the time that it was made, due to having few or insignificant symptoms at the time. In these situations, a progression or deterioration may provoke a similar psychological process to receiving a brand new diagnosis.
It is for this reason, that we have produced the following scheme for you to refer to at these times, if you’d like.