A good piece of advice is to always be cautious about offering a gesture contact of support to a patient of another culture without a clear understanding of cultural boundaries and mores. Respecting a patient’s personal space and preferences is an important professional consideration that includes proffering a contact gesture after the assurance that it will be accepted by the patient. When in doubt, a smile and words of support and empathy are usually acceptable in most circumstances.
Explore This IssueJuly 2018
Dr. Holt is professor emeritus in the department of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.