Daught Syndrome

Daughter from California” syndrome is a phrase used in the medical profession to describe a situation in which a long-lost distant relative arrives at the hospital at which his or her dying elderly relative is being treated, and insists that the medical team pursue aggressive measures to prolong the patient’s life, or otherwise challenges the care the patient is being given. In his 2015 bookThe Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care, American doctor Agngelo Volandes ascribes this to “guilt and denial,” “not necessarily what is best for the patient.”[1]

The “daughter from California” is often described as angry, articulate and informed.[2]

Medical professionals say that because the “daughter from California” has been absent from the life and care of the elderly patient, he or she is frequently surprised by the scale of the patient’s deterioration, and may have unrealistic expectations about what’s medically feasible. He or she may feel guilty about having been absent, and may therefore feel motivated to reassert his or her role as an involved caregiver.

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