Why Some Terminally Ill Patients Reject Treatment

According to Medscape, more than $45 Billion is being invested in medical research annually. [...]

According to Medscape, more than $45 Billion is being invested in medical research annually. Although health care isn’t perfect yet, we now have advances like embryonic stem cell treatments available at Stemaid Europe. The question is: If medical research has come so far in treating terminal conditions, then why do some people reject treatment? A study published on NCBI has identified some significant reasons, and they have everything to do with how the individual feels.

They are afraid of the side effects.

This is one of the most significant reasons identified in the study. Receiving treatments is a painful experience, and it often has a long road to recovery. Take chemotherapy, for example. The side effects are enough to fill up multiple pamphlets.

Before judging, you have to understand that patients who are terminally ill have to come to terms with the fact that they have a short time to spend with their family and loved ones. The side effects of treatment would get in the way of the quality time they would rather have. Even though there are a lot of advances in medical research, many treatments don’t have a 100% success rate. Sometimes, they feel it’s better to take their chances and enjoy whatever time they have left.

Some people believe it’s their time.

After we pass a certain age in life, we begin to expect the inevitable. Sometimes, when older people get terminal illnesses, they are unwilling to fight it because they believe that their time has come. Some individuals even see it as a blessing when they know how much time they have until they pass on.

Rejecting treatment in their situation becomes more about trying to make the most of whatever time they have left. They would rather spend it doing things they haven’t done before than sitting in the hospital. Even though this decision may be difficult for their loved ones to accept, it’s certainly understandable. It takes courage to face death.

What can you do when your loved one refuses treatment?

Try to understand their decision.

The first and most crucial point of action is to try to understand what they are going through. Treating a terminal illness is a burden on its own because the stakes are so high. Living with such a burden isn’t easy, and your loved ones will appreciate it when you understand their position.

Don’t tell them what to do.

As much as you may want to, you can’t tell someone to receive treatments they don’t want. If your family member has a terminal illness and they’ve refused to get treatment, there’s nothing you can say to convince them. You can’t coerce someone to go through a long and often painful healing process. A better approach is to help them understand what they stand to lose by not receiving treatment. 

Accept it.

Acceptance is the last stage of grief for a reason — it’s the hardest. But then, if you’ve sought to understand why your loved one has refused treatment, and you’ve tried to talk them out of it, the next step is to accept their choices. You should try to spend as much time with them as you can, while you can. Hopefully, in the future, medical treatments for terminal diseases will have more chances of success and fewer side effects. 

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Laura Bartlett

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