Attending to oncological patients requires working with the patient, their family and the medical team. Minimizing the importance that family has in the development of the patient may become an
obstacle or complication in the treatment or the quality of life of the patient.
Working with the patient’s family usually brings out ethical matters that must be taken into account by the medical team.
- Evaluate the influence of the family in the medical setting, particularly in:
a) the communication with the patient,
b) taking therapeutic decisions,
c) Doctor´s emotions.
Material and Methods:
Instruments: Specifically designed questionnaire.
Sample: 50 doctors.
The 68% of doctors believe that they always have to give real information to the patient. On the other hand, only the 37% consider that giving this information to the family is always important.
It’s highly frequent for doctors (95% of the cases) to be asked by relatives to hide information of an adverse diagnosis or prognosis from the patient. 35% of the sample rejects this demand.
41% of times professionals who have been graduated for 11 years or more refuse to do this, while for the less experienced ones this was 26%.
50% of the sample recognize at least one negative feeling for the relatives. Women emphasize anguish (38%) while men put stress on anger (38%).
Following the results, we can say that the bond with the family influences the communication with the patient and the taking of therapeutic decisions; hiding unfavorable information from the
patient was associated with an express request of their relatives.
Negative emotions must be considered since the above mentioned emotions may be an obstacle to the correct performance of the professional.
It is a priority to consider all those aspects because the medical treatment may be interfered with by the influence of the family which can place the doctor on an ethical crossroads in relation to
respecting the patient’s autonomy principle.