British Lung Foundation
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Could I expect more?

I recently had a Lung Function Test in August 2012 which confirmed COPD I saw the Doc, She said nothing about it really but offered an inhaler. She also gave me a print out and highlighted the fact that I had about 2 years to live. Told me if I needed anything not to hesitate to contact her and see her again in 3 months.

That's it!

I have been really depressed ever since. This is first time I have said anything but I just cannot see this doctor anymore.

20 Replies

Hi Alan

Unfortunately we hear many stories like this at the British Lung Foundation, COPD is a complicated condition which has different stages, I really would urge you to ring the BLF on 03000 030 555, I am the nurse on duty all day today and tomorrow and we also have a counsellor available if you need emotional support.




I think you do need to change your doctor alan, I believe it is irresponsible of a medical professional to predict copd patients death as there is so much more living to do for many of us. Do ring the BLF helpline as Vicky has suggested, also ask them about getting in touch with your local Breathe Easy Group.

I've been diagnosed over 8 years now, I know many who have been going 12, 15 and 20 years, so don't despair there is hope.

When you get your new doctor* ask about referral to a pulmonary rehabilitation course where you can learn much about managing your symptoms and slowing down the progress of copd.

All good wishes to you.

* What you might want to take into account when considering a new doctor or new GP surgery is if they have a doctor who is specialising in respiratory if not the next best thing would be a surgery who may have a respiratory nurse who attends the surgery regularly that you can also make an appointment to see.


Alan the answer is yes you could expect more reassurance and I know exactly what you mean. My own g.p when I was diagnosed seven years ago was quite uninterested in seeing me again putting it down to smoking probably quite rightly but even then I wasn't given a timescale as you have been given and it would have frightened me to death there and then if I had been. I hope you have taken the opportunity to ring BLF. I unfortunately did not know about this site at that time and can honestly say that you will gain more information and support from the great people on here than in any busy g.p's surgery. If you feel you cannot see this doctor again then don't is my advice. Ask for someone who specialises in lung conditions and good luck. (And no I havent had the courage to do this myself as I know there are no other doctors in my surgery who do specialise) Keep hopeful, do all you can to relieve your condition and keep posting - look at it this way - I for one am still kicking around at 67.


More a common attitude from a doctor than unusual I was also told that the ten Dr's at my surgery do not have any interest in treating copd told this by one of the Dr's they leave it to the nurses respiratory nurse has just left they do not intend replacing her I fear we are 2Nd class patients with 3rd class Dr's I often wonder how much they get from government each week for me and how much for a 10min consultation because I do not know why they oath as they have no intention of acknowledging it unless it is to there advantage eg. more money


Alan that is terrible!! as others have said change doctors! or is there another doctor in the surgery, 3 months is a long time to wait for next appointment, no wonder you are depressed. it;s hard enough to cope with been diagnosed with any disease let alone been given a time limit on life.

gentle hugs xx


Good job he is not my GP Alan, as mine told me I would be dead inside three months - I would never have made the second appointment! However, that was 6 years ago and I am still here. Interestingly the GP isn't, he died last year. I was not still his patient though! Change GPs, ring the BLF, take advice, excercise, look after yourself and go see him in three years just to prove him wrong. Good luck. x


Oh, and ask for a referral to see a respiratory consultant, then you can talk to someone who knows what they are on about.


Change your doctor. Mine is also a specialist with a dedicated respiratory nurse. He has said that if I don't smoke again, keep fit and healthy then I will be stable. The biggest thing is trying to avoid cheat infections and the like.

Lynne xx


Change your doctor. I did. Whoever told you that deserves a right verbal telling off. People with COPD have lived for the normal amount of time.

I was diagnosed about 18 months ago with severe COPD. I changed my doctor and now I have had the proper tests and being given the right medicines I feel very much better than I did when I first found out I had it. It's not repairable at the moment but medicines do help a lot, as long as people who have COPD give up smoking.


Thank you all for your valuable advice.

Strange how telling someone about how you feel helps lift the burden that felt so heavy.

It was more in desperation I posted on this site and I am so glad I did.

I am usually such a strong person but it was only last week I realised the despair I felt was actually depression.

Suddenly a bell started to ring in my head and made me analyse my feelings.

The realisation made me act, hence this posting.

I haven't decided what to do yet but suddenly I have a horizon to look at

Thank you all once more.


I can't believe what that doctor said. What a load of old cobblers! In that case most of us would be dead by now. Definately change your doctor. With an attitude like hers you probably wouldn't live long....

Let us know what happens.

Bev x


Everyone is right change your doctor, my consultant is the same she was obviously absent when bedside manner was handed out. But everyone on here are brilliant, I rang the helpline only yesterday because I was having a panic and the nurse calmed all my fears, so don't ever think your alone, we all know exactly how you feel.

Kim xxxx


I had a similar experience 5 years ago. GP diagnosed COPD, without xray, I was told that in a year I would not be able to walk across the room.

That did not happen, still struggling I found this site and a new Doctor. These people know so much because they have the illness'. Please ring BLF

you will get the warmest welcome. I asked for a referral to a specialist. I went on monday and had the best news ever, I am not as ill as I had been led to believe. It was the people here that gave me the courage to act and BLF advised me as to what information I could ask for. Some of those people that encouraged me are here now encouraging you. Take it my friend, you will not be sorry.....and welcome to the club.


What a misinformed bad doctor this one is Alan. I have heard this many times from some of the many emails I receive through my own copd blog. To put your mind at rest I have had copd for over 25 years now. i am now on oxygen for when I am mobile, but even so still expect to live more than another two years. As someone said. Change your doctor as you need someone more informed than this one. My blog details some of my progression of copd, and gives tips and other information. You can read that at


What a dreadful thing to do to you! I would talk to the BLF helpline. From my own experience (my husband is a sufferer) - we had no advise at all. We - I actually mean me - had to go and find out as much information as I could. He was diagnosed about 6/7 years ago and is now moderate/severe but still lives on, works etc. - goes a lot slower ! Things that are helpful is to have the flu jab and the pneumonia jab. Good luck and don't believe that timescale - you can live for years with COPD and pretty well! TAD xx


p;ease do not take any notice of this nonsense ,I was told 12 years ago ,I was unlikely to live for more than 5 years,and I am still most definitely still here,and enjoying a reasonable quality of life .



Alan, you are most welcome here, it is one the most positive, supportive and helpful sites I have come across. I was diagnosed with COPD, caused by smoking 7 years ago now,! and I feel fitter now than I have for many years. YAY!

Everyone deserves a good standard of information and care from the NHS and if that is not your experience then please avail yourself with the facts and knowledge about your condition. Use this forum, the internet, the BLF and the PALS (Patient Advice and Liason Service) at your local hospital if this where your received your diagnosis or see another Dr at your local practice if your diagnosis was arrived at there. Perhaps your local practice nurse can help you?

Empower yourself and look after yourself -good self care is so important.

Stay well and keep happy, enjoy this Christmas time and I wish a happy and healthy new year.


Hi Alan please don t be so down, there s a lot of help out there, I was diagnosed with emphysema 10 years ago and have been very well with the medication and advice I have been given, been abroad on holiday for seven of the ten years and have enjoyed life. So it needn t be how your doc described it at all so please see another doc who is more knowledgable about this condition good luck. wellman


Hi Alan, this is disgraceful behaviour by your doctor and I would immediately arrange to see another doctor in the practice. Do you have a specialist consultant at the hospital where you had your lung function tests - arrange to see him/her asap. Also, one inhaler and that's it? I have three different inhalers plus two different tablets to take each day and could not manage without them - I have severe emphysema and need a wheelchair and do not expect to die in the next two years. I can understand your reluctance to see your doctor again, but you must see one to get to the bottom of your condition and get the necessary medications prescribed and put your mind at rest. Good luck, Libby x


Hi Alan

its a sad thing when they tell you something so devastating and half the time its not true, change your doctor and see if you can get proffsional help, the B.L.F. line will help you very much, good luck



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