The right to refuse information

If a person is terminally ill and has expressed a wish NOT to be told their prognosis should the medical profession insist they be told and try to discuss what the dying person wants to happen after death.

I ask this because someone I know was diagnosed with a brain tumour and made it quite plain that they would be in on discussions for treatment options but clearly said that they didn.t want to know the prognosis and did infact leave the room when this was to be discussed.

Gp is saying that they need to speak with the terminally ill patient about after death.

Do others like me think the medics have no right to impress and volunteer not wanted information

Or do you think it needs doing

9 Replies

oldestnewest
  • I agree 100%. I once had a long consultation with a Syrian cardiologist, here on a 12month exchange, who was appalled at the idea of telling patients they had a limited time to live.

    He told me of a patient back in Syria to whom he'd given a totally false diagnosis and prognosis as he was an elderly, simple farmer who, the doctor argued, didn't deserve to have his remaining life blighted by such a dreadful bombshell. And he gave other examples.

    It was common practice here until around the late seventies to withhold such information and I, for one, was horrified when I first encountered the present approach. If a person is unable to cope with such news they should not (in my opinion) be forced to hear it. I think it's unnecessarily cruel to take the final months/weeks of a person's life and convert them into a living nightmare.

    And if the GP needs to speak about 'after death' what happens, I wonder, in the many cases of sudden death. This is one of those instances where political correctness has way overstepped the mark.

  • MY FATHER HAS PUT A 'DO NOT RESCUSITATE' CLAUSE INTO HIS WILL WHICH ALSO STATES THAT HE DOESN'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROGRESS OF ANY TERMINAL ILLNESS. THIS HAS BEEN PASSED ON TO HIS NURSING HOME, GP, HOSPITAL ETC ETC & IS LEGALLY.BINDING MY SISTER & I HAVE POWER OF ATTORNEY OVER HIS AFFAIRS SO WE WOULD ENFORCE HIS WISHES.

    HE ISN'T TERMINALLY ILL PER SE, HE BUT HE'S 86 HAS HAS DEMENTIA & A SERIOUS HEART CONDITION. SO COULDN'T UNDERSTAND ANY INFORMATION GIVEN TO HIM BUT THE ' DO NOT RESCUSITATE' CLAUSE INSTRUCTS THAT HE NOT BE TOLD OF PROGRESS - THIS WAS DONE IN 2004 SO WOULD HAVE APPLIED AT ANY TIME AFTER THAT. IS THIS SOMETHING THAT MAY HELP IN YOUR CASE EVEN THOUGH IS A DRASTIC SOLUTION.

    AS FAR AS I WAS CONCERNED I DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING MORE ABOUT MY ABI THAN I CHOSE TO ASK, I DON'T EVEN WANT TO READ MEDICAL REPORTS. THIS HAS BEEN RESPECTED.

    I THINK IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE THE CHOICE OF THEPATIENT. IT IS THEIR ILLNESS AFTER ALL

    GOOD LUCK IN AN AWFUL SITUATION TO YOU AND YOUR FRIEND.

  • In a way you've raised the important question, namely "do doctors have the right to play God"? Do they anyway?

  • YES! after the death of my first partner I discovered that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer in the July and made the clinical decision not to tell him

  • I agree with you, it should be up to the patient. I would always want to know the prognosis for myself but understand that many people just don 't want to know.

  • Thank you for your replies. It's very reassuring to read that I am not alone in the way I think on this situation. Just by insisting the person knows it's 'incurable' has caused much grief and a depression which slid to a decline.

    My other way of looking at it is also that the belief of the person's religion is that 'the body is just a tool for the energy' So when the person passes away there is just a body and the energy has gone to the light.

    Therefore it doesn't really matter what happens to the body left behind, it is just for others to have somewhere to grieve and remember.

    Of course a person has to be religious to think this way and not everyone is.

    I think the medics should but out and respect the individuals choice be it through religion or not.

    Many thanks

  • I do not think there is a yes or no answer. When my fist partner became ill, he went into hospital on the Thursday with a swollen foot, then Monday morning after some tests had been carried out, a team of doctors came to see him looking stone faced. Sorry but there is no treatment for your condition....silence.......We will make you comfortable and pain free.... Then my partner asked how long he had; a world cruise? visit my family in Wales? Trip to the shops? then came the reply maybe if you have a good day we will get you in a wheelchair. It felt rather brutal, although he did make light of dying when he then turned to me and joked 'I always said your extravagance would be the death of me. He was one of the bravest men I have ever known. If he had not been told he was dying no doubt he would have become more anxious the worse his condition became. When my second partner became ill and was in hospital death was never mentioned, what was said was treatment options and response, more clinical but this gave us both hope even though it was futile.

  • Why wouldn't she want to, cos it seems a little selfish if U don't mind me saying so ???

  • Hi staceM8 I am not sure who your question is aimed at here but will respond and if it's for someone else I am sure they will also respond.

    In my brother's case my sister in law was trying to protect my brother.

    All his life he was always nervous of illness and GP visits - used to get himself really worked up he was a born worrier.

    My brother had expressed his wish not to know his prognosis.

    My Sister in law was honoring this.

    However, during talks at the hospital they were told that they couldn't do anything with the tumour and then went on to say he could have therapy.

    So in theory my brother was told in a round about way!!

    The result was that my brother 'withdrew' himself' from us and just gave up.

    They were out of order going against my brothers wishes - my sister in law was only doing what he had asked.

    My brother passed away in July of this year - he was 53.

You may also like...