Dr. Oz says it's impossible to determine precisely how long someone with a terminal illness will survive. "We also have the phenomenon of a 'no-cebo effect,'" Dr. Oz says. "Everyone knows what a placebo is, right? When people tell you stuff is going to be good and you do better than you're supposed to. When we tell you you're going to die, you cooperate."
While they obviously want to heal their patients, in many cases, Dr. Oz says the physician's role is simply to help bring a sense of calm to the family. "The fascinating thing about the medical profession is the ancient healing rite was not to save lives. We couldn't do that that well until this century. It wasn't about doing a lot more than just bringing order to the situation," he says. "I unfortunately deal with this a fair amount as a heart surgeon. A lot of times, you're just making it calm for everybody to break that chaos apart. I do get that we have to offer hope, but hope's not about having a good outcome. Hope's about making sense of it all."