July 17, 1991

Compassion Fatigue

Author Affiliations

Leeds, England

Leeds, England

JAMA. 1991;266(3):362. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470030062018

To the Editor.  ——The poignant reflections of Sweet1 struck a chord. All physicians should bear in mind his closing question: which of our medical friends and colleagues might benefit from a listening ear?Unfortunately, physicians, whose major skill was once to be good listeners, seem to be losing this very important talent. I know this only too well from my own personal experiences. I have been very seriously ill, being totally bedridden and in excruciating pain for the last 5 years. Matters have reached such a serious point over the last few months that I feel that I do not wish to go on living while being forced to endure such unbearable suffering. Despite my feeling this way, I am unable to convey this to my medical colleagues. It is a very sad state of affairs that the people on whom I ought to be able to rely the