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June 18, 1973

Sane: Insane

Author Affiliations

Beth Israel Medical Center, NY

JAMA. 1973;224(12):1646. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220260060022

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To the Editor.—  In your EDITORIAL you quote statements made by Rosenhan, and by so doing, may contribute to an uncritical acceptance of some of his assertions that, although fashionable, have not been proved. You refer to his statement "patients are shorn of credibility by virtue of their diagnostic labels"; the data upon which this statement is based is the observation, in the mental hospitals studied, that staff tended to disregard what patients said. In general hospitals, garages, police stations, and most places dominated by corps of experts, the experts tend not to listen to their nonexpert public or clientele. One need not believe that when this rude, arrogant behavior occurs in a mental hospital, it has been caused by a "diagnostic label" (otherwise known as "diagnosis").If genes play some important role in schizophrenia, as outlined in another EDITORIAL in the same issue, then it may be that some