|September 2007 · Vol. 19, No. 09
Focus on Professional Liability
Traumatic childbirth: Address the great emotional pain, too
How do you treat incomplete grief and traumatic stress disorder amid the pressures of practice?
An outpouring of grief in the face of loss is normal; it mobilizes energy and is an integral part of the healing process
An acute stress disorder involves feelings of intense fear, horror, dis-orientation, and helplessness in response to an unusually traumatic experience
Do not tell the patient that you understand her trauma. Suffering is always unique and personal.
Dr. Bub is Director and founder of Advanced Physician Awareness Training in Woodstock, NY. He is the author of Communication Skills that Heal (Radcliffe Publishing–Oxford, 2005). He teaches communication skills and provides confidential psychological support and mentoring to professionals experiencing litigation and other professional stress. He can be reached at www.Processmedicine.com.The author reports no financial relationships relevant to this article.
Mary Jo Foster, herself a physician, sat down to pen a letter to her former obstetrician. Words flowed easily because, for months, she had thought of little else besides the events of the previous year.
Her letter has been abbreviated, with names and dates altered.