But if you had to choose between having your hand held by a warm and fuzzy nurse or being treated by a heartless diagnostician?
I hate to use the term ‘heartless,’ but you have to have something traumatic happen to get there.
It makes those who continue to milk the story look like heartless vultures for harassing a sick man (with a pregnant wife).
Old English heortleas "dispirited, dejected;" see heart + -less. In Middle English with expanded senses "lacking in courage; foolish; listless; half-hearted; sluggish." Sense of "callous, cruel" is not certainly attested before Shelley used it in 1816. Literal meaning "lacking a heart, lifeless" (mid-15c.) is rare. Related: Heartlessly; heartlessness.