Table 1

Clinical encounter between patient and physician regarding the results of a chest computed tomography scan

FP“The scan showed an abnormality.“
Patient“An abnormality?”Her voice trembles a bit (the first cue indicating possible fear)
FP“Yes, it’s a nodule.”Speaking directly, he provides information
Patient“Is it cancer?”Her face has lost all expression (another cue indicating her concern)
FP“I can’t tell from the image. You will have to see a pneumologist right away for a bronchoscopy.”He does not acknowledge her concerns at all and provides only technical information
Patient“A bronchoscopy?”She repeats the information. She becomes pensive (a cue that she has difficulty processing the information)
FP“Yes, to see inside your bronchi and take a sample.”He provides information with a matter-of-fact attitude
Patient“So it can be serious?”She has an increasingly worried tone
FP“I can’t say without the results of the tissue analysis.“He provides information with a matter-of-fact attitude
Patient“Ok, so what do I have to do now?”She gives a cue indicating she did not understand the information presented
FP“Well, as I just told you, I will arrange an appointment with the specialist. I will see you again after your tests. Goodbye.”He misses an opportunity to be empathetic, and expresses some impatience at her failure to understand the explanations given