How Could Hope be a Bad Thing?

Liz S | Administrator |

I think hope is a very powerful word. From what I understand, a patient’s attitude and tenacity can contribute to the success of his/her reaction to treatment, and I would think

that this is directly related to the patient having hope. On the other hand, I can see that a doctor using this word might be frustrating for a patient, especially if the doctor’s definition isn’t in alignment with the patient’s. When I was first gathering my thoughts to write this, I was having trouble thinking about why this word might be harmful. How could “hope” be a bad thing? But, after more thought, I could see how the mental hurtles a cancer patient endures could affect the reception of this word. If the patient is having a bad day and a grim outlook, “hope” could seem condescending.  Will hope bring their old life back? No. Will hope guarantee they never have to worry about cancer again? No.

However, for a patient who may see things in a different light, hope could be that extra little push they need to continue with their treatments and have a more positive outlook. I’m torn on the word, and think that a doctor needs to proceed cautiously when using it. They need to be in tune with where their patient is mentally before using a word that has the power to offend or inspire.

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