Why do doctors always give an patient an estimate or time limit?

Such as “he/she has less than 6 months to live”.

What happens if they suddenly out live that? Like end up living for another few years or more?

9 Answers

  • Pippin
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    If a patient is interested in hospice care, they usually do need to have a life expectancy of less than 6 months. So for that purpose, an estimate would be given. (But it's not a time limit. If the patient is still alive at that point, they are simply re certified for continued hospice.)

    And yes, sometimes patients DO want some idea of how long they have. So they can, maybe, do some things they want to do, tie up their affairs, or prepare themselves and their families.

  • 5 months ago

    Doctors very rarely do that. (It makes good tv drama, but..)

    What they usually do , in that situation, is to tell you that there are no treatment options left and some decisions have to be made.

  • 5 months ago

    A patient can request that estimate be withheld, but I think most find the data useful. "How long do I have, Doc?" If it's 2 months, I'm going to make sure all my affairs like Wills, Trusts, Documents, Passwords, etc. are in order. If there's time to do bucket list stuff after that, then okay. If the time is 4 years, I'm going to do at least some of the bucket list things now.

  • lo_mcg
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    They don’t. It is extremely unusual, almost unknown, for doctors to be so precise about a cancer patient's life expectancy. They know how unpredictable cancer is.

    The words ‘you have X weeks/months /years to live!’ are heard in bad soap operas and films, not in cancer hospitals.

    What has usually happened when people claim they have been given ‘x time to live' is that, when pressed, the doctor has given a worst case scenario.

    A friend tearfully told me that a mutual friend’s ex had been given 3 months to live. I told her what l’ve told you here. She got angry with me and showed me the mutual friend’s email as proof. It read ‘the doctor said worst case scenario it could be as little as 3 months’

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  • 5 months ago

    Doctors always says is a possibility. They never say FOR SURE 6 months.

  • Reminds me of the Bob Moknhouse joke. When he was dying of cancer, he asked his doctor how long he had left. The doctor said 10 .... 9 ....

    What ? Months ? Weeks ? Days ?

    And the doctor carried on : 8....7.....6.....5 .....

  • kelvin
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    they are doctors not god

  • 5 months ago

    I’m cases like that, the patient should go into hiding or their magic blood will be harvested and used to create super monkeys.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    If the patient outlives their doctor's estimate then the doctor is legally allowed to terminate that patient with an injection.

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