Legal responsibility of medical professionals

I would like advice please. My father in law has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is not expected to last long. He is in hospital and yesterday we had a conversation who is insisting that he is is told. We know him and know he will not cope with this news. He suffers from high anxiety and it will make his dying days horrible for him and the family. The doctor is saying he legally has to know because he has capacity.  Can any one advise of the legalities of this as I can't find any were that they are legally bound.

  • Hello Advice-needed, 

    I am so sorry about your father in law's terminal cancer diagnosis. I hope that he is looked after well in hospital. I completely understand that you have his best interests at heart and want to protect him as he suffers from high anxiety. I am not sure myself what the legal obligations of doctors are in a case like this and if they take individual circumstances into account. I think it might be worth you giving our cancer nurses a ring and sharing all the details and circumstances with them and they will be best placed to advise you on this or point you in the right direction. You can call them on this free number 0808 800 4040 - their helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm but is closed over the Easter break. It reopens on Tuesday 2nd April at 9am so don't hesitate to ring them then and talk things through with our cancer nurses who will I am sure be able to give you some guidance on this important question. 

    We're thinking of you and your family during this intensely emotional time and wanted you to know you are not alone. Members of our community may have faced a similar challenging situation and may have some useful insights for you based on their personal experiences. 

    Best wishes, 

    Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator