Even some of the most technical presentations, such as one about surgery for cerebral metastases by Dr Viviane Tabar from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, US, mentioned patient after-care: “Surgery for brain metastases must be an exquisite exercise in complication avoidance. It is also really important to plan discharge as well as planning surgery,” she said.
If anyone in the audience felt chastised by that remark, they were about to get a bigger shock from Holly Matthews, actress, vlogger, entrepreneur and recent widow. Holly lost her husband to a brain tumour and recalls with great clarity how coldly his consultant delivered his diagnosis. She passionately stressed the importance of good communication and gave the audience some excellent advice:
- Warm up - “Practice what you are going to say and prepare the location.”
- Warning - “We got no warning that bad news was coming.”
- Warmth - “We want to know that you get this on a human level.”
- What’s next - “Give the patient some information about what the next steps are going to be.”
She finished by quoting “People will forget what you said; they will forget what you did; but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
For more about what we saw at BNOS, take a look at our Twitter Moment