Do you find it ethical for doctors to tell a patient has X days to live?
I think giving a certain answer for an uncertain event is unethical, especially when it is someones lifespan that you are trying to determine.
i find it unethical NOT to tell the truth to the patient or power of attorney, While an actual number of days can rarely (and reliably) be 'predicted,' an eventual outcome likely can. This MEDICAL OPINION needs to be put into perspective however.
Then, it is the job of the family, the same physician, friends and everyone, social work, chaplaincy; that that is the MEDICAL OPINION.
That said, (that the physician has just given the MEDICAL OPINION, that doesn't discount the valuable input of hope and faith and miracles. They must never be discounted. This is where the physician, family, neighbors, friends come together for the best outcome.
The infamous line that no one wants to hear; "It is time to get your affairs in order." It must be significantly difficult for a medical doctor to speak these words to anyone. Yet it is indeed the ethical thing to do. I think doctors usually speak in terms of months not days. Thus, I would conclude probably to quantify what time is left in days could seldom be accurate and actually be using too much precision for what can truly be discerned. If the measure is months at least for some chronic issues I believe that is usually the extent of accuracy...
Yes, I would want to know so that I could put my affairs in order and say what I needed to say to friends and loved ones.
Having said that I would also bear in mind that sometimes doctors are wrong. There have been several instances where people have outlived a doctors predictions.
However there is nothing wrong with being prepared.
"Death never takes the wise man by surprise, he is always ready to go." - Jean de La Fontaine
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