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To the Editor: I have been developing a slow, but persistent, reaction to the article by Vernick and Karon in the May issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children, entitled "Who's Afraid of Death on a Leukemic Ward?"
This paper will certainly provoke much soul-searching among those who care for children with leukemia. With experience in both a children's medical center and the pediatric service of several general hospitals, it is my strong feeling that older children, except possibly in a Leukemia Ward such as described by Vernick and Karon, need not, indeed should not, be told the name or nature of their diagnosis.
Most of the patients I have cared for with leukemia have gone to the end in the belief that they have an unusual form of "arthritis," or a "big spleen," or some other partial diagnosis which has satisfied them as to what's wrong. At
LEE HF. WHAT SHOULD THE CHILD WITH LEUKEMIA BE TOLD?. Am J Dis Child. 1965;110(6):703-704. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090030731026