Patients of kind, compassionate doctors heal faster, scientists say

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Can compassion heal medical conditions?

Two physician-scientists made a strong argument on their new book; disclosing that doctors who are kind and warm have better patient outcomes, providing evidence that compassion has a healing power.

A new book — “Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference — written by Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli revealed that kindness brings longer, healthier lives not only for patients but also for health-care professionals.

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Patients heal better and faster when a physician is compassionate, it says.

In a report, the authors defined compassion as “an emotional response to another’s pain or suffering involving a desire to help.”

Speaking with the Washington Post, they explained that when health-care providers care deeply about their patients, the latter are more likely to take their medicine.

Mazzarelli underscored that it can also happen to patients undergoing surgery.

“Studies show that warm, supportive interactions from either doctors or nurses right before going in for surgery resulted in patients being more calm as the start of the surgery and decrease in the need for opiate medication following surgery,” Mazzarelli said.

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“Patients also spent less time in the hospital,” the scientist added.

Trzeciak, on the other hand, noted that most underestimate the power of compassion; saying they had curated data from more than a thousand research abstracts and 250 research papers in medical journals to find out if compassion really matters.

“When you look at the scientific evidence, you come to realize that compassion matters in not only meaningful way but also measurable ways,” Trzeciak said.

The duo, meanwhile, emphasized that when a medical provider sits while speaking with you; facing you and makes eye contact; and cares about your emotional and psychological well-being, then you might have found a physician with compassion.

They also advised to “stay away from physicians who interrupt patients when they are speaking.”

Trzeciak is chair of medicine at New Jersey’s Cooper University Health Care and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University while Mazzarelli is the co-president and associate dean of clinical affairs in the same university.