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Thread: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

  1. #1

    Default How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    This is going to be a downhearted subject. But I feel it is necessary to talk about this topic, because most of us will be thrown this situation one day. When that happens, most of us will be caught off guard and make flawed decisions that we will regret for life.

    For example, someone very dear has contacted terminal illness and the days are numbered. Would you be very frank and tell the patient about the prognosis?

    Yes.
    Because, the life belongs to the patient and he/she has every right to live the remaining days the way he/she wants.
    When you tell, you will feel better because you have discharge the burden of making decisions for the patientís life. On the other hand, you have pronounced death sentence to the patient who has been fighting so hard and bravely to stay alive. The dear one has to bear the burden now when you decided to put it down.

    No.
    You have decided to bear the burden and pain, you will make his/her remaining days the most memorable and enjoyable. Hope is the only motivation for the terminally ill, and you have kept that hope alive.
    But, you risk him/her leaving you without last words.
    You do not know exactly what he/she wants for the remaining days.

    Which is the best approach you would chose?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    normally terminally ill ppl will more or less know it... and most ppl who is very sick will think that they are dying when in fact they are not... unless the person is super duper optimistic...

    simplest way, arrow the doctor, since the doctor is the one who have diagnosed the 'lifespan'... they are the one with the 'license' to say it best to them... of course... stay by their side just in case... arrange a nice cosy afternoon with doc and relative around.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    It is absolutely irresponsible to not tell.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet View Post
    It is absolutely irresponsible to not tell.


    What if, telling does not improves the quality of life, but make matters worse and emotions get out of control?

    To you, is there any circumstances that you think do not tell is a better option?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    What if, telling does not improves the quality of life, but make matters worse and emotions get out of control?

    To you, is there any circumstances that you think do not tell is a better option?
    It is the person's life, it is not your right to withhold that information. If a doctor knows that his patient has a terminal illness and does not inform that patient, he is in breach of his duty. On top of that, if he tells someone else other than the patient without the patient's consent to reveal that information, he is in breach of that patient's confidentiality and is liable for disciplinary action.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt View Post
    normally terminally ill ppl will more or less know it... and most ppl who is very sick will think that they are dying when in fact they are not... unless the person is super duper optimistic...

    simplest way, arrow the doctor, since the doctor is the one who have diagnosed the 'lifespan'... they are the one with the 'license' to say it best to them... of course... stay by their side just in case... arrange a nice cosy afternoon with doc and relative around.
    Yes, the patient will feel it but when they hear the confirmation from you, all hopes are dashed. They might loose the will to fight and that is worst thing to happen.
    When all hopes are gone, things and situations will only turn for the worst at a faster pace.

    Arrow the doctor? Most doctors I met do not show empathy.
    You asked why and how is happened. Ans: It is like this, Max two months, perpare yrself.
    This is personal experience at NCC.

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    Yes, the patient will feel it but when they hear the confirmation from you, all hopes are dashed. They might loose the will to fight and that is worst thing to happen.
    When all hopes are gone, things and situations will only turn for the worst at a faster pace.

    Arrow the doctor? Most doctors I met do not show empathy.
    You asked why and how is happened. Ans: It is like this, Max two months, perpare yrself.
    This is personal experience at NCC.

    They are bound by medical ethics to tell. Their duty is to the patient first and not to the patient's relatives. Why do you assume that when they know that it automatically makes things worse? Why do you not give them an opportunity to put their matters in order and say their goodbyes?

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    you have to tell. no two ways about it. its not your life.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    What if, telling does not improves the quality of life, but make matters worse and emotions get out of control?

    To you, is there any circumstances that you think do not tell is a better option?
    From my perspective, based on my up bringing and believes, we must tell the patient.

    There is no other choice.
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Is the person is dignosed as terminal ill, that's mean s/he is likely to pass away soon, so lost will to fight doesn't change the destiny, only may hasten the pace only, but it may lighten their suffer also. Ask yourself, would you like to be informed or not? The person may have a better arrangement of finish what s/he whatever business before s/he left the world, instead of dying in regret, because by that time. s/he probably too weak to do anything already.

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Sky View Post
    Yes, the patient will feel it but when they hear the confirmation from you, all hopes are dashed. They might loose the will to fight and that is worst thing to happen.
    When all hopes are gone, things and situations will only turn for the worst at a faster pace.

    Arrow the doctor? Most doctors I met do not show empathy.
    You asked why and how is happened. Ans: It is like this, Max two months, perpare yrself.
    This is personal experience at NCC.
    u also kena from NCC ar? hahahaha...

    my uncle tat time the doc say, 2 months max... he drag 2 years... or 3... imagine when he say 2 months... all go into mad rush to get married, do will, tis & that... then u see him really sianz 1/2...

    i find in 'restructured' ones, not that tactful... and normally have discounted dates with discounted rates...
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    They are bound by medical ethics to tell. Their duty is to the patient first and not to the patient's relatives. Why do you assume that when they know that it automatically makes things worse? Why do you not give them an opportunity to put their matters in order and say their goodbyes?
    sometimes, relatives will inform the doc to keep it from the patient... it will be written down in the doc's note & nurses' notes...

    normally is for those very old aged patients, and time span not really long type...
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt View Post
    u also kena from NCC ar? hahahaha...

    my uncle tat time the doc say, 2 months max... he drag 2 years... or 3... imagine when he say 2 months... all go into mad rush to get married, do will, tis & that... then u see him really sianz 1/2...

    i find in 'restructured' ones, not that tactful... and normally have discounted dates with discounted rates...
    Its a cancer. Survival prediction is not a precise science. Would the doc err on the side of conservatism? Of course! What if he told a patient he had 2 years to go and the patient perished in 3 months? Much worse, don't you think? It is a best guess at most.

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    Its a cancer. Survival prediction is not a precise science. Would the doc err on the side of conservatism? Of course! What if he told a patient he had 2 years to go and the patient perished in 3 months? Much worse, don't you think? It is a best guess at most.
    well... its like speculations... sometimes i wonder whats the gauge like...
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  15. #15

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    He/she deserved the right to know. As for when to reveal, it will be a tough call. Sometimes the patient will realise it themself. I am not in a position to advice you.

    Just a sidenote, i recommend you to watch the japanese drama 'one litre of tears'. It is based on a true story about how this teenager fight against a denegerative disease she contracted. There's a part where her parents didnt know whether to tell her about the disease or not. Maybe after watching you might have a better picture of whether to tell or not to tell.

    Live strong

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by phraeb View Post
    He/she deserved the right to know. As for when to reveal, it will be a tough call. Sometimes the patient will realise it themself. I am not in a position to advice you.

    Just a sidenote, i recommend you to watch the japanese drama 'one litre of tears'. It is based on a true story about how this teenager fight against a denegerative disease she contracted. There's a part where her parents didnt know whether to tell her about the disease or not. Maybe after watching you might have a better picture of whether to tell or not to tell.

    Live strong
    ya touching tv series... have a great meaning as well... motivational...
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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt View Post
    sometimes, relatives will inform the doc to keep it from the patient... it will be written down in the doc's note & nurses' notes...

    normally is for those very old aged patients, and time span not really long type...
    Yes, it is practised, but if we expect our physicians to abide by ethical conduct, they are not supposed to. How do the relatives know details about a patient's condition that even the patient does not know? BREACH of confidentiality. How many of you here are concerned about confidentiality of your personal information? If so, why do we not accord the terminally ill, regardless of age or status, with the same respect that we expect for ourselves?

  18. #18

    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    no one should be lied to, no matter how hard it is to tell the truth

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt View Post
    well... its like speculations... sometimes i wonder whats the gauge like...
    Some insight--> http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/327/7408/195

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    Default Re: How to tell someone that he/she is dying soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    Yes, it is practised, but if we expect our physicians to abide by ethical conduct, they are not supposed to. How do the relatives know details about a patient's condition that even the patient does not know? BREACH of confidentiality. How many of you here are concerned about confidentiality of your personal information? If so, why do we not accord the terminally ill, regardless of age or status, with the same respect that we expect for ourselves?
    not that i wanna slash sg's hospital...

    after going to both restructured and private hospital to stay... i think restructured doesn't have anything about privacy at all...

    i was on the receiving end once, and i was really sick of this type of arrangement...

    every morning, you are lying in bed, trying to sleep, then the docs do their rounds, then u see about 10+ people crowd round your bed... looking at you like specimens, then the senior doc will go, tis guy, xxx, come in with blah blah blah, then xxx and had tis, that, and today going to do tis that... and unless u are in A class single bedder, else u can kiss your privacy goodbye...

    imagine every morning, the doc say, tis patient, cancer 3rd stage, left 2 months, minus 1 1week since we diagnose it last week... how would u feel? then next minute your neighbour say, eh u got cancer ar, so suay, i going home today liao... bye bye...
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