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January 7, 1974


Author Affiliations

San Mateo, Calif

JAMA. 1974;227(1):76. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230140046015

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To the Editor.—  Rosenhan's article in Science suggested exploitation of staff of the hospital and what I considered to be not only a dangerous game but one in which Dr. Rosenhan was making fun of patients hospitalized with emotional disorders.As yet, we have only Dr. Rosenhan's statement and those of the people who undertook the experiment that they did not suffer emotional problems. I don't mean to propose a witch-hunt to establish emotional difficulties in individuals who ostensibly were employed in trying to analyze the weaknesses of a system. The experiment may have made fools out of people who took them at their word and tried to give them the help they needed insofar as they could.Sanity is a legal and not a medical notion and is defined by statute, not by diagnosis. The title might well have been "Fools and the Fooled" or something more germane to