Great noon-time talk today about prognosis and predicting outlook for terminal diseases (until about the last 72 hours). Summary, from a palliative care and Hospice doc: Medicine is still terrible at predicting how much time any one individual has left. We can say “Most people with your condition and your status will live this long,” but it creates a ton of anxiety for physicians if they’re asked for a specific number, because it’s totally worthless. I thought her analogy would be helpful in explaining this to patients.
It’s like weather versus climate. I can tell Californians that it’s probably going be sunny there, and I can tell Alaskans it’s probably going to be cold there, but if you ask me to tell a particular town on a particular date what the weather’s going to be, I might as well just pull it out of a hat. Until it gets very close to that date, I really can’t say if it’s going to rain or going to be sunny.
Her last list was really touching and rang true. The 5 Things All Patients Want to Tell Their Loved Ones Before They Die:
- Forgive me.
- I forgive you.
- Thank you.
- I love you.