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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 32671
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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My Mother has just been admitted into hospital, she is 85 years

Resolved Question:

My Mother has just been admitted into hospital, she is 85 years young and understands everything that is happening to her, they have been doing a lot of tests and we were told the results of these tests today, she has a very bad lung infection and a few other issues, they are 99% sure that she has Cancer, and want to tell her,
I do not want her to know she has Cancer as we believe this will make her give up , we have been telling her that she has a lung infection and a blood disorder, very low potassium, once her blood levels are up they have said she can come home to us.
I know if she asks the direct question, do I have Cancer, they are obliged to answer, my question is, can we insist they tell her it is a lung infection (as that is what Lung Cancer is, and not use the WORD CANCER).
Thank you
Barry
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Hi. Sorry to hear about your mother. You'd put the doctors in a very difficult position if you asked them not to answer her direct question as to whether she has cancer since ethically they can't lie to her. At her age, though, lung cancer isn't necessarily a death sentence. They could tell her there's a chance she has cancer and they need to do more tests and perhaps informing her that way won't rob her of hope. Let me know if you need more information please
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou for your reply, we can only request they do not use the word Cancer when speaking to her.

thank you

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
You can certainly ask Barry. They don't have to use the word cancer until the diagnosis if firmly established

Let me know how it goes and please remember to rate my service to you
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