Is it compassionate for medical professionals to keep people on tenterhooks waiting for results, particularly if the diagnosis in question could be really bad news; but in general too?
Wouldn’t it be kinder to just shut up and order the tests and whatever to find out a firm answer before stressing out the patient? In your honest opinion please.
In answer to the first part. Yes, it would be more compassionate not to keep patients waiting for news. Once they have all the test results they need and have made a diagnosis the kindest thing to do would be to explain to the patient exactly what is going on as they understand it and likely scenarios, even the bad ones. It is difficult when doctors say they are not sure, it might be this or it might be that. However, it’s better than not being told anything at all.
I think most people would say that not knowing what is going on is one of the most stressful parts of the situation. It certainly was for us last year when Naomi was unwell and the doctor she had seemed uninterested in finding out why or doing anything about it. As soon as she changed to another one who was very good at sharing information and explaining what test results meant her spirits improved no end even though solving the problems took longer. Thankfully she is nearly her old self again now.
If it is very bad news, I think that I would still want to know. You need time to process the information and decide what you want to do. Time to see people and tidy up loose ends.