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October 27, 1989

Physicians' Attitudes Toward Using Deception-Reply

Author Affiliations

Rhode Island Hospital Providence

Rhode Island Hospital Providence

JAMA. 1989;262(16):2233-2234. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430160051027

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In Reply.—  Baker and colleagues misrepresent us and seem to misunderstand the point of our study. We did not analyze half of our scenarios in terms of passive deception. We did not label as "deceivers" physicians who would allow the wife of a patient with gonorrhea to be misled about his diagnosis. In our construction of the case of the pregnant teen, we did not consider nondisclosure to be deception. In this vignette, the only choices we categorized as deceptive were "Sherry has a gastroenteritis..." or "... something common that's going around." We did not assert that because one can deceive by nondisclosure, that all nondisclosure is therefore deception. Our intent was to study the degree to which physicians are willing to accept deception as a part of ethical medical practice. We did not presume to "measure" physicians' integrity by "passive deception" or other yardsticks.We agree with Baker et al