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January 10, 1996

Patient-Physician Communication: Respect for Culture, Religion, and Autonomy-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Southern California Hospital Los Angeles

JAMA. 1996;275(2):109. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530260021015

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In Reply.  —We thank Drs Pantilat and Fenyvesi for their interest in our article. Timing of discussions concerning patient preferences to be informed about their illnesses is important, and Pantilat's suggestion about this matter seems reasonable. We also agree with Fenyvesi that a trusting physician-patient relationship is the best basis for ethical decision making. Every patient is unique, but we believe it is possible to improve communication about end-of-life decisions by making clinicians sensitive to their own cultural background, their patients' background, and the conflicts that may occur when different cultures come together.