ISTR reading maybe 10-20 years ago that doctors in Japan who diagnose elderly patients with a terminal illness tend not to inform said patients of their diagnosis, preferring not to cause mental distress.
Is there any truth to this, either now or at any time in recent decades? Or was this just some xenophobic urban legend?
Hold on a moment. Does this mean that the doctors asked the family if they want to tell the patient about his/her terminal condition? That would seem to be an invitation for all sorts of unethical conflict-of-interest situations.
“Hey, Dad’s got a lot of money in the bank, right? Let’s not tell him about the brain cancer, so he won’t spend it on treatments, OK?”
Don’t a significant proportion of elderly have some abnormal cell growth? Whether it’s a benign tumor or isn’t but won’t kill the patient before something else is likely to give out first, would telling them help them in any way?
I was also surprised to hear that in the UK (or Northern Ireland at any rate) not telling someone about a terminal illness was sometimes held in notes on the benefits computer system. At least, according to someone in my office who transferred over from that sort of a business area.