Thursday, November 06, 2008
MUSIC: "Age of Aquarius"
"I'm sorry, but you only have 6 months left to live"!!!
Shocking words, aren't they? Not really something that any of us would want to hear.....but in reality, some doctors do choose to tell their patients words similiar to the above. Do you think patients should be told how long they have left to live? I guess that question is very controversial and will command alot of debate, but from a personal standpoint my answer is a definite NO!!!
First I should say there is an exception to my original response. Only in extreme cases when a patient is practically incapable of functioning, should they be told this news. Of course, every medical situation is different and I am no medical authority on the subject, but I can relate somewhat to a doctor giving his/her patient such a diagnosis.
None of us know exactly how long we have to live, and we do not have to be ill to suddenly pass away.
I feel that some doctors relate such devastating news to their patients without taking the time to completely assess their medical situation, and without any thought going into the ramifications of what they are about to tell not only the patient, but also the patient's family. The truth is that NO ONE here on earth can accurately predict any person's longevity with accuracy. I believe that in instances where a patient is confined to bed and their bodify functions are failing, then "maybe" they should be told. I say those words hesitantly.
If a person is diagnosed with severe cancer that has reached enormous proportions, even then caution should be first applied by the attending physician before disclosing a definite timeline.
Timelines are most defnitely a death sentence!
IT SHATTERS ALL HOPE!!
Upon hearing the words, your first reponse is total shock! disbelief! and you immediately receive an indescribable impact. Your world has you once knew it, now in an instant, no longer exists. If you had even one tiny morsel of hope before hearing those words, chances are, they have evaporated on impact. It will take a person with enormous strength to climb out of this abyss. Most people will definitely give up the fight and the will to live, once they receive that death sentence.
Let's look at it from another perspective. If a patient's medical information is relating all negative results, but yet the patient is still mobile and in relatively good spirits, a doctor should possibly advise that patient of the not-so-positive test results but with an entirely different approach.
Tell the patient that everyone should always have their affairs in order, and that this might be an appropriate time to do theirs as well, but stress the fact that no one individual, despite what the medical facts are detailing, can predict an accurate timeline. Each person reacts differently to terminal diseases, each one reacts differently to medications and each one has different levels of mental strength to sustain their longevity. Yes, there is a better way to annouce incurable results to any patient, rather than just flippantly disclosing that approximate duration of life.
Doctors who give timelines to their patients do not realize that they also are giving it to the patient's families as well. As a result, lives are put on hold, lives are rearranged and lives are constantly on CODE RED alert.
Thankfully, there are those very strong individuals who are determined to beat the odds, no matter how high they may be stacked against them. These are the patients who maintain that positive attitude no matter what comes their way, and in the end, they are the same patients who outlive their original death sentence by months, years, and yes, even decades longer than what was originally predicted by their physicians. For verification of this, all you need to do is look around at those you know personally who have survived original timelines, when everyone else thought they weren't going to make it. On our Cancer Cafe chat forum, we have talked with those whose loved ones have survived 10+ and 14+ years and just think how many other survivors are out there of whom we have not heard about.
What makes me an authority on this you might ask? My husband has outlived his original timeline, many times over and I personally can attest to the impact that original death sentence had on our family as it suddenly exploded on our lives.
If any of my viewers have received similiar news, please know that you are not alone.
Remember that in order to win, you have to fight and those statistics are really just numbers!!!
I've posted a discussion question on today's Cancer Cafe chat forum for you to express your opinion on this topic! It will be interesting to read each person's remarks. Thanks for participating.
Posted by Deb at 10:19 PM