CURRENTLY I am in the United States, as my uncle has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. There is no doubt that the US healthcare system has several positive aspects. It has the world’s best cutting-edge medical treatment techniques and conducts valuable research related to human health. Most importantly, the patients are the priority and I did not encounter any discrimination during my uncle’s treatment. There is easy access to what patients need in hospitals.

But one thing that has bothered me seriously is ‘disclosure of information’ to the family. Any information related to a patient suffering from any disease is not disclosed to the family without the patient’s written permission.

My uncle had decided to hide all his medical information from his family and friends, and we came to know about his diagnosis very late. Although I respect US laws, this has caused us great agony and pain. We have only come to know of his condition when my uncle is helpless, has lost his ability to even speak, and, under law, a medical power of attorney has been transferred to his son to act as his proxy.

All medical reports and deiagnoses have been revealed to the family only now when it is quite late, and there is hardly anything that the family can do. Had the information been revealed to us earlier, we would have definitely made prompt decisions. There should be a debate in society about such issues.

Nasir Soomro
Austin, USA

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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