Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bad Timing?

It's not often I blog about something serious, but this is something that's really been playing on my mind.

There's a patient in the hospital I'm in, who is relatively young and has very aggressive metastatic cancer. He's been an inpatient for a week and no-one has told him. No-one has even given him a clue to his diagnosis.

I feel really uncomfortable about this.

The CT he had showed all these lesions, and further tests have been carried out. The reason I've been given for no-one on the team breaking the bad news is that they feel he's the kind of patient who won't respond well to being told half the story, so they want to wait until histology is back and the multidisciplinary team have made a treatment decision.

I don't agree.

I think we should at least tell him that there are suspicious looking lesions on his scan, that the tests we've done so far are specifically to look at these lesions and to find out what they are, and that until the whole team have discussed it we can't give him much more information. Then at least any bad news won't be totally out of the blue.

I have a sinking feeling that no-one is telling him, as no-one wants to be the one to tell this patient the devastating news. I think the doctors are all just waiting for the specialist nurse to come along with the results and tell him.

It's awful. If this cancer is as aggressive as we think it is then the guy mightn't have that long left and will probably want to spend as much time with his partner and kids as possible. With the extra time he may be able to organise care at home or in a hospice, or even a last family holiday before he is too sick to go anywhere.

Every time I see him I want to cry and scream with frustration as he has no idea.

I'm dreading ward round tomorrow. Part of me hope's he's been told, even though I think he'll be fuming with us for withholding information. The other part of me doesn't want that confrontation.

I can't stop thinking about it.

Lily xXx


Rebecca said...

gosh, it's weird how i have a similar situation...have a young ish guy with past hx of radiation for childhood head/neck cancer...came in with some new nodules that show aggressive malignancy. saw him in the canteen yesterday and felt so guilty because everyone has skirted round the issue, i discussed it with reg this morning and she agrees that he hasn't got long left but i still don't understand WHY WILL NO ONE SAY ANYTHING???? it's truly terrible!!!

JC said...

Have you been able to tell the team about your feelings?