Between Uncertainty and Certainty
The Journal of clinical ethics 2011 Summer; 22(2): 139-50
In this study, 10 hematologists and 10 lung oncologists were interviewed regarding the information they provide to patients in four situations of uncertainty: determining the treatment that is in the patient's best interest; recurrence or progression of the patient's disease; determining when to withdraw life-prolonging treatment; discussing death, addressing questions such as whether the patient will die from the disease, and when. The primary finding is that delivery of information to patients with low survival rates can be improved by more and better disclosure by physicians at an earlier stage. The crucial point for physicians is to ascertain the wishes of patients, to learn what to reveal about what patients should expect, short term and long term, as death approaches.
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