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ARTICLE |

Should the Patient Know the Truth?

William B. Bean
AMA Arch Intern Med. 1955;96(3):436. doi:10.1001/archinte.1955.00250140158026.
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ABSTRACT

The very title of this series of questions on patient-physician relationships and matters of medical morality suggests that there is such a thing as "the truth," that this is known to the physician, and that it is sometimes kept away from the patient. In actual fact, as many of the interesting and different essays in this collection clearly set forth, the problem is much more complicated than that. To begin with, the problem concerns the truth merely when it is unpleasant. When the prognosis is good, the diagnosis indicates a benign course or benign lesion, or when nothing bad has been found, there is no question in anyone's mind. On the other hand when the disease is serious, when the outcome is in doubt, or when death is anticipated and, particularly, when some form of malignant tumor forms the basis of the patient's trouble, the questions are very perplexing. There

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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