callous, indifferent attitude

goldencypress

Senior Member
India - Malayalam
A doctor broke the shocking news to a patient that he had terminal cancer devoid of any empathy or emotion. As if he was telling the patient that he had mild flu and he just needed to rest.

How would you describe in a word or a phrase or an idiom the doctor’s callous or indifferent attitude?
 
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  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t think any single word quite covers it. But that attitude could certainly be described as insensitive in the extreme. Uncompassionate is accurate but not really idiomatic.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Please give us the sentence you have in mind. Callous and callously won't work in the same sentence.

    What sort of behavior are you trying to describe? What does he do?
     

    goldencypress

    Senior Member
    India - Malayalam
    Please give us the sentence you have in mind. Callous and callously won't work in the same sentence.

    What sort of behavior are you trying to describe? What does he do?
    A doctor to a patient who has come to consult him for stomach pain: I'm sorry, you came too late. You have advanced cancer of the liver, and the prognosis is very gloomy.

    Please note that the patient hadn’t the slightest clue about cancer and was totally unprepared to receive the “death sentence.”

    How would you characterize this insensitive and unsympathetic attitude of the doctor?
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Of the words you suggest, I would use 'callous'. Indifferent would mean that he doesn't care one way or the other; it is about his feelings about his own situation. However, you want a word that directs our attention to his lack of concern for the patient. Callous fits the situation better, though I more usually associate 'callous' with people whose actions are hurtful to others.

    I might say, unfeeling, which we use to describe people who don't feel ordinary sympathy for other people. A common extension of the phrase is 'cold and unfeeling.'

    Other people may differ, or be able to make better suggestions.

    Cross-posted.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Callous means that he’s taking a sort of pleasure out of being insensitive : unfeeling is more neutral. You haven’t said what you think the doctor’s intention is.
     
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