5 Steps to Breaking Bad News

Scarlett Jess Perrodin
7 min readDec 2, 2022

How to break life altering news and reassemble the aftermath

Photo by Maurice Smeets on Unsplash

“You have cancer.” Those three brief words, that seem to bear the weight of the world, is one type of bad news I have been in the position to deliver.

The action packed phrase “breaking bad news” uses the insightful verb “breaking” because bad news causes a sudden fragmentation of an individual’s perception of their present and future.

News of a cancer diagnosis, a new medical condition, a shift towards fatality, or a lost loved one. These are the moments that most people spend a lifetime avoiding. Sometimes a profession places some of us in the pitcher’s position, signing us up to experience frequent doses of these hefty, sacred moments of humanity.

I am an empathetic spirit, sometimes dressed in a healthcare provider lab coat. Before developing ways in which I would tactfully drop bad news bombs, I witnessed this delivery experience hundreds of times in training.

Some healthcare providers hurl these words like a cannonball, striking an unsuspecting soul with blunt force. They calcify their own hearts to avoid the mutual sting, producing rigidity to avoid the letdown experience.

There are some that perform the delivery of bad news like a ballet, tip toeing, bending, and arching around the harsh concept with…

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Scarlett Jess Perrodin

Mental health advocate, abuse escape artist, maternal aura, and comic. Personal stories. Some hints of humor. A diamond in the rough is still a diamond.