Would you keep medical info. to yourself?

  1. If you had a parent that was ill would you not tell them? Even if it was against your better judgement but siblings wanted it that way? If your parent already said they would want no treatment is it better for them not to know?
  2. Everybody has a right to know their condition. It was really hard for me to tell my father he was dying. The doctors at the hospital were being complete pussies about informing him, even though he was lucid and cogent, and I had to push them to sit down and inform my dad of what was going on.

    He had entered the hospital 16 days before and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, which is a condition that some people live with for a decade or more. He was expected to stay in the hospital for no more than three days. Unfortunately, there was only a narrow therapeutic window for him, and he was overmedicated with diuretics which caused his kidneys to dry out and induced renal failure.

    By day 12, it was clear that his condition was terminal, although it wasn't clear how long that would be. At that point, I was hoping he'd have up to a year. He was able to make decisions about how he wanted to spend the rest of his time and whether or not he wanted extrordinary care. At age 78, he was too old for a kidney transplant (70 is the cutoff for kidney banks) and he rejected dialysis, as it was not a bridge to recovery, but just maintenace of a minimal quality of life.

    I was really glad he got to participate in the decisions that were made, as that helps relieve us of second guessing later. And I'm pretty sure he was glad too. Furthermore, he was able to contact people he wanted to say good-bye to, and accept last rights and prayers with a keen understanding of what was happening.

    On day 16, we all had a great last day together and although it was a shock that everything was over so quickly, it turned out to be as good an experience as could be expected for everyone - especially my father, I think. He was a little scared, and had some regrets, but understood and accepted his fate and was happy to have his family around.
  3. Everyone has the right to know the truth about their own health. It is THEIR body, THEIR health and no one has the "right" to withhold information. People who want to do that are actually doing it from a selfish point of view, letting their own prejudices and fears get in the way of what is truly best for someone else. Yes, sometimes medical news can be very frightening or distressing. But that doesn't mean it should be withheld. Neither should it be withheld if treatment is not feasible or expected to be successful. You would be denying the individual the opportunity to make decisions about their body, their health, their life.

    I have noticed also that most people - children included - are very aware of what is going on and have a keen sense of the truth, even if no one has the guts to tell them.

    Myself and other people close to me, have at one time or another received extremely distressing medical news. It was rough. Very rough. But knowledge is power and we all were able to then go forward and make our own decisions about our own bodies/lives.
  4. Everyone has the right to know and most people do want to know -- but some do not. Most people want to participate fully in all decisions -- but some do not. You just have to be very sensitive to the signals your are getting from the person who is ill, and how it changes over time.
  5. I would not keep medical info from a loved one. People do change their minds. Nothing is written in stone. IMO everyone has a right to know the state of their health so they can make not only medical decisions but life decisions as well. I speak from experience. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in 1993.
  6. Myself, I'm the black sheep in my family. I tell the truth in tough situations. My other family members aren't always so keen, but in every case, it's proven to be the right way in the long run. But it has never been life or death. If it were another member of my family, I think I would try, but be very careful of the signals. Something like that isn't about what I think is best. If it were me, I would absolutely want to know.
    And wow, Kat. You are amazing. Nothing but respect from this corner.
  7. What I am afraid of is that a sibling is a doctor and is in charge and everything she says will be the only thing accepted. Info to me will be what she wants to tell.
    I was not told how serious my mother's cancer was three years ago, in fact not even told she had cancer until I read some medical records lying on the table. Her treatments and what was going on was not discussed with me. I got pieces of info when I could. It was the worst experience in my life to watch her die 6 months later. It was bad enough to see what chemo and radiation did to her but then the last two weeks in the hospital without food and water did me in. I spent every night with her and I told her how much I loved her. I don't know if she knew I was there but I prayed she did. Pissed me off to find out she was not given morphine only Tylenol for pain--found that out by mistake after being told time and time again she was given morphine. It haunts me that she was in pain and I had no say in helping her. I was not in charge, I could not make any decisions.
    So now possible something is wrong with Dad. A mass was found and test will start next week. He thinks all is well. I am scared.
  8. Awww sweetie, of course she knew you were there. Don't doubt that for a minute, ever.
    It must be absolutely frustrating in that situation, and maybe a conversation with your sister and your dad now will help to make the difference in the future. This is your father and you are no less his daughter just because you are not a doctor.
    Good luck, and God bless...
  9. My Grandfather was dying of cancer but in his elder years, his mind was nearly gone and forgot everything you told him anyway. So, my father chose to not tell his father he was dying. I guess the answer is.. it all depends on the circumstance/situation. Sometimes it needs to be told and sometimes not.
  10. I find that pretty offensive. You should not be making such brash judgments on others when you have no idea the particulars of their situation.

    My grandfather was diagnosed with testicular cancer when his health was already very poor. The family decided not to tell him because there really would be no benefits in doing so. Rather, the stress of the news would probably have further worsened his already frail condition. By withholding this information, the family was NOT being selfish, NOR were they deying him the right to make decisions about his body because he would have left the decisions regarding treatment to those more knowledgable, anyways. Let me stress he received all appropriate treatments and is doing quite well now.

    Now I ask you this - would you rather know you are dying, and die from the knowledge of that. OR, would you rather live because your family denied you the 'right' to know?
  11. I believe that you have the right to know medical information about yourself in all situations.

    In response to yellow_gummybear: I believe that everyone has a right to know about their own condition, yes. I am happy to hear that in your personal situation things worked out well, but I would never want people to deny me truth/knowledge no matter how unpleasant.
  12. So your response to my hypothetical question is that you would rather die?

    I suppose it depends on the cultural context, too. I can see how your point would probably be very prevalent in the West, but in Asian cultures it's just not like that.

    Again, nobody should judge other ppl's situation without knowing the specifics of it. Perhaps cultural factors you are not aware of come into play.
  13. If you are making an assumption that a) if given information that dying is a certainty, and b) that if info withheld that living is a certainty, then yes i would choose b. But unfortunately there are no guarantees in real life, and in that case I would choose information because there are no real absolutes either way.

    I do agree with your point about cultural context though. I was born/raised as a first generation Canadian but still have a sense of understanding of my Asian background which may contradict a lot of my beliefs.

    I want to reiterate that I did not intend to judge you, as I understand that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs in their own circumstances. All I'm saying is how I would want to be treated if I was in that situation myself.
  14. This is a tough question. Being in a medical profession myself, I thought I'd share my opinion. I agree that every situation is different. However, I think it's very appropriate to ask the patient if he/she wants to know what's going on. The truth is, many patients know it when they don't have much time left, but they may hide it because they don't want to distress their family. When you need the patient to make decisions about treatments, you'll obviously have to inform the patient so he/she can make an informed choice. One cannot make a decision about not receiving treatments without knowing the pros & cons of different treatment options.

    Even when no treatment can be offered, some patients appreciate knowing that they won't have much time left so they can get their affairs in order. However, there will be patients who won't want to know what's going on, and that's perfectly fine too (as long as that's documented in the medical chart).
  15. Knowing the truth does not equate a death sentence. Indeed, it can be quite empowering.

    I stand by my first post, which was my OPINION.

    As a cancer survivor - and as someone who was told at one point that I was dying - I would never want the truth about my life - my health - being withheld from me. I still feel knowledge is power.

    And that's all I have to say. Again....just my OPINION.