[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.197.66.254. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
September 14, 1984

Explanations to the Patient

Author Affiliations

The Alliance Eye and Ear Clinic Alliance, Ohio

JAMA. 1984;252(10):1279. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350100013008
Abstract

To the Editor.—  The article entitled "Memo to JAMA"1 must certainly have aroused reflection within the medical profession. The patient indeed has the right to know his or her diagnosis, even if it is limited to the vague statement, "I'm not positively sure just yet, but I think that probably..." He or she may also expect a brief explanation of the disease mechanism in lay terms. Other considerations aside, this facilitates patient compliance.While important, the teaching aspect of medical practice is neither absolute nor immutable, however, and must be tempered to the particular patient and circumstances. Most physicians, I suspect, are pleased to explain a diagnosis or disease process to an interested patient. The same depth of explanation obviously cannot be used for every patient, nor is it possible with every disorder. Yet, ideally, some element of teaching is present in each patient encounter.Some patients are more

×