Ethical scenario 19: Communication with patients

An elderly patient misunderstands your advice and her worried sister has phoned you. Should you explain the situation to her?

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Scenario 

Edna Montgomery, aged 75, comes to you for a routine eye examination having received a reminder. She is having no problems with her eyes. You find nothing remarkable. VA is R 6/9 and L 6/6-, with physiological disc cupping, normal IOP and no visual field defect. She has very slight cataract in her right eye which is causing her no problems. You tell her she has slight cataract in her RE, but it is nothing to worry about and she can continue to drive providing she can still see the number plate at 20m.

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