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January 1966


Author Affiliations

664 N Michigan Ave Chicago 60611

Am J Dis Child. 1966;111(1):109-110. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1966.02090040145023

To the Editor: Whether or not a child with a fatal illness should be told (Agranoff, J. H., and Mauer, A. M.: What Should the Child With Leukemia Be Told, Amer J Dis Child110:231 [Sept] 1965) may depend no so much on the geographic circumstances of his medical care as on the religious background of the physician.

Biblical references are rather clear-cut on this subject, as pointed out by Jakobovits1:

When the Syrian King Ben Hadad asked Hazael to inquire from the Prophet Elisha whether he would survive his sickness, the Prophet sent word: "Go, say unto him, 'Thou shalt surely recover'; howbeit the Lord had shown me that he shall surely die" (II Kings 8:10).

He then cites later rabbinic and Midrashic sources, in which "the rabbis insisted on maintaining the patient's hopefulness not merely by witholding information of his imminent death, but by positive

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