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 issue:July 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.