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Table 3 Quotations related to affective responses to the patient and other individuals

From: Learning and coping through reflection: exploring patient death experiences of medical students

Affective responses towards the patientQuotations
 Negative feelings“I regretted I did not have the power to terminate such a painful existence she had been experiencing” (student no. 1).
“It was like a heart-breaking scene in the theatre” (student no. 2).
 Mixed positive and negative feelings“When she died there was a sense of relief that her suffering was over. However, the sense of grief and guilt did come [when we realized] that we couldn’t do anything to save her from septic shock” (student no. 3).
 Ambiguous feelings“In terms of how I felt, I was surprised at how rapidly the patient deteriorated (going from being fairly well with a planned discharge to collapse and death within minutes) [...] Other than that I’m fairly sanguine about the death, as I don’t know clinically how it could have been foreseen or avoided” (student no. 4).
Affective responses to other individualsQuotations
 Empathizing with patient family“All they knew was that the patient had collapsed and not that he was very, very ill. This meant that when they arrived they were completely taken by surprise by the news that he had died, and when they walked onto the ward they were […] quickly ushered into another room, which must have been confusing and upsetting for them” (student no. 4).
 Feeling the healthcare team might/might not be experiencing the same emotion“I saw tears in a Year 5’s eyes” (student no. 5).
“Everyone in medicine is so hardened by deaths and it came like nature to them, but not me who had that first experience” (student no. 6).