When I visit a doctor in Malaysia, a very rare thing I'm glad to say, I refuse to give him or her the number of my next of kin. The reason for this is that some doctors here don't talk to their patients but to their relatives instead.
The official excuse is that some people are too feeble to deal with difficult truths or make decisions about their treatment. So if you're old or female, your doctor may just call your son or husband to discuss your condition and treatment options.
I find this appalling. And unethical. So I tell my doctors firmly that they will deal with me and only me. Those that look shifty or uncomfortable I walk away from.
Malaysians are divided on this issue.
One of my friends told me that when her father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, his doctor told her and her husband. They decided that it was unfair to withhold the information. They thought the old man needed time to say goodbye to people, maybe travel to China to see long-lost relatives before he got too sick, etc. Initially the old man freaked, then he was ok.
But another one of my friends is not telling his mum that she has cancer and has been given 6 months tops because he thinks it will "do more good than harm". He says his mum is uneducated and that knowing she is under a death sentence will ruin what little life she has left.
I don't know if he's right or wrong, but I know one thing: I'm all grown up and I decide what's best for me.