I reviewed this book yesterday, and I liked some of it. (Review at https://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/book-review-an-epidemic-of-empathy/)
  1. Most clinicians viewed empathy as a personal characteristic; either you had it or you didn’t.
  2. In most of medicine, the trend toward specialization has come at the expense of that holistic approach to the patient.
  3. Turning on empathy for the patients one likes or identifies with is not enough. Empathic care should be the norm, not the exception.
  4. As disappointing as modern medicine may be for patients, the harsh reality is that it doesn’t feel so great for doctors, either.
  5. In short, medicine has become a busier but simultaneously more isolated life for the people who deliver medical care.
  6. Empathy for patients is supposed to be everyone’s job, but that often means it is no one’s job
  7. Burnout starts when “energy turns into exhaustion, involvement turns into cynicism, and efficacy turns into ineffectiveness.”
  8. Empathy is not a reflection of how good people may be but how willing they are to be good.
  9. The very regions of the brain that are activated in suffering patients are active in the physicians who care for them, although less intensely.
  10. Empathy is work. It takes energy and motivation to focus on every patient, to understand patient’s needs, and to convey that understanding.
  11. The word "patient" comes from the Latin word "patiens", which is derived from "patior", which means “I am suffering.”