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To think DD's oncologist was insensitive?

(168 Posts)
merlotgran Wed 03-Apr-19 20:07:09

As many of you already know, DD has been diagnosed with a rare gall bladder cancer and sadly the prognosis is poor. Up until now she has been under the excellent care of the Hepatobillary and Gastrointestinal team but is now in the hands of Oncology. Her first appointment to discuss chemo was yesterday afternoon. Oncology outpatients was very very busy and we were relieved not to be kept waiting as DD has to use a wheelchair and the waiting room was packed.

The oncologist swept into the consulting room and with the briefest of introductions launched straight into the bleakness of the case, using words like 'terminal', 'slim' and 'palliative' before we hardly had a chance to sit down. In short, they will attempt chemo in two weeks time but she was almost certain that DD would not be able to tolerate it due to her poor liver function in which case they would stop!! Any questions were answered by being handed a leaflet to read at home. DD was then instructed to get measured and weighed on the way out.

The HGB team had been encouraging using words like, 'hope' and 'positive'. When on the ward DD was treated with kindness and compassion. This encouraged her to do things like get her hair done, go out for lunch with us last Friday and even make a short trip to Tesco with her son. Now she's at rock bottom, deeply depressed and scared. It's been an awful day.

I know the NHS is stretched to the limits and an oncologist is not responsible for emotional support but I drove home fighting my anger at the damage done to DD's emotions.

Maybe I'm just oversensitive. We're all scared.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 03-Apr-19 20:14:43

How horrible merlot, the Oncologist needs to look at their "bedside manner".

Bad news is never easy to hear, but the way it is delivered can make the world of difference.

My thoughts are with you and your family x

lemongrove Wed 03-Apr-19 20:15:54

Merlot my heart goes out to you and your DD, what a terrible meeting for you.
I do think more than a few consultants have no social skills at all, which is a great shame for patients and their families.
A little sympathy and kindness shown goes a long
I didn’t know your family situation, and am so sorry to hear of it.

Grandmashe43 Wed 03-Apr-19 20:17:01

That is absolutely dreadful, I’m so sorry for your DD and all your family. Being busy is no excuse for such callousness.
My thoughts are with you all.

kittylester Wed 03-Apr-19 20:19:45

Merlot, that is appallingly insensitive. You must be seething. This is a difficult time for all your family.

It always seems short sighted to me when medics don't try to keep their patients more upbeat. At the very least it would make their job easier.

Willow500 Wed 03-Apr-19 20:22:27

Such a dreadful way to treat a patient - even bad news can be delivered in a more caring and compassionate way. Sadly I think some consultants are so used to it that they forget the human side of their job.


grannyqueenie Wed 03-Apr-19 20:26:36

I’m so sorry you’ve had that experience today and especially hard for your dd to be treated that way. I used to work in a paediatric oncology unit. While the doctors were very skilled, I think maybe because cancer is the “bread and butter” of their work and part of their everyday lives, they became a bit desensitised to the awfulness of what was happening. They sometimes spoke in very stark terms to parents, without seeming to have much empathy or understanding of the impact of their words on those receiving them. Not an excuse by any means for what your dd experienced today but maybe an explanation. I do hope she encounters professionals with better people skills as things go on.
Thinking of you x

Greenfinch Wed 03-Apr-19 20:33:31

That is appalling and very sad. Your daughter(and you)deserve better treatment and we all know that positive support can really raise the spirits . There is always some hope despite the prognosis.

Annapops Wed 03-Apr-19 20:34:03

How awful for your DD, you and the rest of her family. My DIL had a similar experience with her oncologist too. She was very cold in her delivery (my DIL is fortunately now in remission). Can these consultants not inform with some compassion? I just cannot imagine how you must all be feeling.

Susan56 Wed 03-Apr-19 20:35:54

Merlot,how dreadful for you and your daughter.Compassion,sympathy and kindness should have been shown to you both.The way you were treated at such a difficult time was insensitive and uncaring to say the least.
Thinking of you,your daughter and your whole family.

cornergran Wed 03-Apr-19 20:44:29

A more than unhelpful experience, I’m sorry it happened and can only hope there will be more kindness and compassion at the next appointment. Thinking of you all.

Bellasnana Wed 03-Apr-19 20:45:07

So very sorry to hear this, Merlot. It makes one wonder why someone with no compassion would become a specialist in this dreadful disease.

Sadly, when my DH was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, the outlook was similarly bleak and his oncologist was also very brusque and unsympathetic. It was very upsetting and I really feel for you and your

Grannybags Wed 03-Apr-19 20:54:03

So sorry for you and your family merlot flowers

Grannyknot Wed 03-Apr-19 21:13:30

Merlot I'm so sorry. That is just awful. We had a similar experience with my mother's consultant delivering bad news to her. He was brutal, there is no other word.


Sussexborn Wed 03-Apr-19 21:17:34

Truly shocking but sadly I am not too surprised. I set up and ran a gynae cancer support group, the patients coming from 4/5 consultants and one of them was just as appallingly abrupt and, to my mind, cruel. They are obviously in totally the wrong job and should have worked in research where they couldn’t blight the last days of a persons life. TBH a few people appreciated her approach but most were left shocked and traumatised. I am so sad for you all having to cope with such a tough diagnosis and such an unpleasant doctor. The right handling can make a huge difference to the patient and their family.

dragonfly46 Wed 03-Apr-19 21:18:52

I am so sorry to hear this Merlot there are no words flowers

callgirl1 Wed 03-Apr-19 21:20:24

So sorry to hear this Merlot, and also sorry to say that I didn`t know of your daughter`s sad situation. My son is now just starting his treatment for lung cancer, and had no complaints about his oncologist, she was factual, but not brutal. Your daughter deserved better.

dragonfly46 Wed 03-Apr-19 21:21:49

I do feel the hospital should be made aware of this. Is there a way you can do this? I get a text after every visit to my oncologist asking me to give feedback.

Alima Wed 03-Apr-19 21:26:11

I am so sorry for the appalling insensitivity you and your DD have been shown. A terrible situation for you all.

maryeliza54 Wed 03-Apr-19 21:29:01

Am I right that there was no specialist nurse involvement? That’s often quite usual and is normally where the emotional support comes from. I’m so sorry to hear of your experience / maybe a nurse might get in touch or your GP might be able to help?

Gonegirl Wed 03-Apr-19 21:35:13

That is incredibly awful merlot. sad

Maybe they're protecting themselves emotionally. But there must be a better way.

Try and keep it together merlot, hard as it must be. Love to you and yours.

SueDonim Wed 03-Apr-19 21:41:40

I am so sorry for your daughter's illness, Merlotgran. I hadn't been aware.

The consultant sounds well out of order and I think you should feed back to the hospital the distressing experience you've undergone. It costs nothing to be kind so it can hardly be blamed on cuts or anything like that.

1inamillion Wed 03-Apr-19 21:56:51

You aren't being over sensitive Merlot, that was shocking treatment. I would ring to ask about complaints procedures.
A family member who is a hospital doctor, says often things only improve when a complaint is received.
Sending you all love and best wishes. ?

NanKate Wed 03-Apr-19 21:58:47

I suggest you put in a formal complaint for such insensitive treatment of your DD.

Luckygirl Wed 03-Apr-19 21:59:27

What can I say merlot? There are no words of comfort in the face of such appalling insensitivity. I can only offer to walk beside you and your DD. flowers