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September 17, 1982

Truth Telling in Medicine-Reply

JAMA. 1982;248(11):1307. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330110015006

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In Reply.—  I share many of the views expressed by Dr Boverman regarding the harmful effects that result from withholding the truth, and I agree that, in most cases, the truth ought to be disclosed. This was, for the most part, the point of my article. There are, however, two comments that I want to make regarding Dr Boverman's letter.The first is that I am not sure that I share Dr Boverman's faith in the ability of current scientific research to give clear answers in regard to what ought to be done in particular situations. Sometimes it appears that the use of this current research represents an attempt to avoid the anxiety of dealing with real moral dilemmas by turning to a sort of technology in which the responsibility of the acting individual is dissipated among other professionals who are also acting on the basis of current research. I