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Do I tell ?

(16 Posts)
SisterAct Wed 31-Jul-19 08:59:54

I have written a letter for a friend at their request to the effect my DH is informed first of any medical decline or info and not friends sister (friend is terminal). Sister will be very upset and I asked friend to tell her what has been done as I don’t want a fall out with friends family.

So far friend has said no. Should I say something ? as really don’t want to offend her And see and speak to her regularly

Teetime Wed 31-Jul-19 09:04:52

If you did this in confidence then no you cant break a confidence.

aggie Wed 31-Jul-19 09:08:17

Why did you write the letter ? I would have gently refused , the Lady just needed to add your OH as her next of kin in her medical notes , with a note not to inform her sister , no need for a letter .

SisterAct Wed 31-Jul-19 09:22:01

I don’t know why I said I would apart from friend was so upset, as we were, we were with her when she was told it was only a few months at best!

no excuse I know. I didn’t do it in confidence and will talk it over with friend who wants to protect sister 😞

dragonfly46 Wed 31-Jul-19 09:33:19

Maybe she needs to realise that her sister will not want to be protected and as the outcome is inevitable maybe it would be better to tell her now. If she goes into a hospice will the sister not be told?

I agree though you cannot break a confidence.

Caledonai14 Wed 31-Jul-19 10:12:54

In these circumstances, I agree with aggie that all that was required was that the person making the request tell their doctor and ask for it to be placed in the notes.

You are all in a difficult situation, but you were all caught out and the original request was probably made to you because you are trusted by someone who felt unable to get a solicitor - or even the Citizen's Advice people - to help with this matter (and probably didn't feel physically up to it).

My dad left written instructions to us for just about everything and we were glad of them. The only problem came with some unwritten things he had mentioned to one person, but not to others, so I'm all for having things written down (and shown to everyone in advance) if you have the courage to do so. It can be quite upsetting.

I have to make similar arrangements to those of your friend in case my husband dies first. I have to choose who, in the family, would best reflect my own wishes if I become incapable of dealing with my care etc.

I am so sorry for all of you because the decision and the follow-up letters/communication are all being done under time pressure and concern for someone who is seriously ill.

Added to that is the fact that families always have pressures and histories the rest of us cannot know. In this case, a neutral person would have been a better choice for the original letter.

I do hope you can find a way that causes the least hurt to all.

NainFron Wed 31-Jul-19 10:16:08

If the sister is told now, how will she react? Will it upset your friend while she is so ill? I presume it will.
The sister is going to be cross whenever you tell her, but you can protect your friend from the fallout by keeping it confidential until after her demise.
My feeling is that it's your friend's secret, not yours, to tell.

notnecessarilywiser Wed 31-Jul-19 10:16:52

Perhaps you friend would agree to you writing a letter to her sister on her behalf explaining why she's made the request about medical updates?

sarahellenwhitney Wed 31-Jul-19 11:56:28

Letters of this nature have to come from persons who have no personal /emotional friendship with the persons mentioned in its contents. Ideally a member of the legal profession.

4allweknow Wed 31-Jul-19 12:44:31

Why didn't friend just organise a Power of Attorney in respect of this? Your DH could be the one with responsibility for health etc.

FC61 Wed 31-Jul-19 14:44:57

People sometimes do funny things in grief so sister might be very upset and worst case accuse you of influencing her sister etc.
Your friend should sort things herself but doesn’t have to tell her sister. She can make your DH the person to be told at the hospital and give a POA to a solicitor or DH. You writing letters sounds a bit risky to me. But my experiences with grief and wills and POA have not been smooth.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 31-Jul-19 15:05:34

You know the answer to your own question, don't you?

You cannot break a confidence, but you can and should try to persuade your terminally friend to talk to her sister. If she cannot or will not do so, then all you can do when the sister reproaches you at some later date is to say that you are sorry. You made a promise without really considering the ramifications of it and that you did try to persuade your friend to take her sister into her confidence.

M0nica Wed 31-Jul-19 15:13:22

When my uncle became ill he simply told everybody that I was to be treated as his next of kin. His older brother lived in a care home 150 miles away and was in no position to fulfill that role. We never had a problem.

A letter can help, provided it is signed by the person delegating the role in case the automatic NoK, in this lady's sister, tries to assert a right to be the NoK. Difficult of the person doing the delegating is no longer fit to make her intention clear.

Overthehills Wed 31-Jul-19 17:38:35

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it. You are where you are now and I agree with others that you should keep the promise to your friend but gently try to persuade her to tell her sister. I wish you all well. flowers

Summerlove Fri 02-Aug-19 01:09:09

I’m so sorry that your friend is so ill.

Im sure she has very good reason to not want her sister to be in charge of her care.

At this stage you need to either respect her wishes, or tell her to ask someone else to take your husbands place. You’ve made your feelings known, and I’m sure you don’t want to spend the last few months with your friend nagging her about her sister. Just enjoy your time with her to the best of your ability

Granarchist Fri 02-Aug-19 09:04:29

Is there any reason your friend can't write the letter herself? Is she too ill to write? If she writes the letter and signs it and has it witnessed then your letter can be destroyed.