Original Article

Breaking Bad News in the Emergency Department: How do the Patients Want it?


  • Ramazan Guven
  • Eylem Kuday Kaykisiz
  • Hatice Onturk
  • Muhammed Ikbal Sasmaz
  • Asim Arİ
  • Gokhan Eyupoglu
  • Ayse Gurol Parlak

Received Date: 24.12.2017 Accepted Date: 25.04.2018 Eurasian J Emerg Med 2018;17(3):97-102


When breaking bad news (BBN) is not managed correctly, the negative impact on patients and patient’s relatives is much greater. The aim of the present study was to investigate the thoughts of the patient/patient’s relatives about how BBN should be given in four hospitals located in the eastern region of Turkey.

Materials and Methods:

In this cross-sectional, multicenter study, a total of 760 patients were included using a six-item questionnaire. Participants were divided into two groups according to educational status as high school and below (Group 1) and university and above (Group 2). The difference between the groups was determined according to p<0.05 level of significance.


There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of the answers to items about how, where, and to whom should a doctor tell the death and also possible negative situation of a patient to his/her relatives. All participants were asked where they preferred to stay in the emergency department when cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was needed in one of the family members. Of the participants, 47.4% (n=360) reported that they preferred waiting in a seat close to the room where CPR was performed.


The emergency physician should break the bad news considering the educational status of the patient/patient’s relatives. BBN should be carried out by sitting down face-to-face with the patients or family members in a room where no other patients are present. In contrast to some literature data, patient’s relatives are more likely to wait near the CPR room instead of watching CPR.