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June 16, 1900

Professional Frankness from the Standpoint of Ethics.MAY THE DIAGNOSIS OF PULMONARY CONSUMPTION EVER BE ETHICALLY WITHHELD FROM THE PATIENT BY HIS MEDICAL COUNSELOR?

JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(24):1573-1574. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460240065022

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Abstract

Knickbocker, Texas, May 23, 1900.

To the Editor:  —I have long been of the opinion that doctors are too often not sufficiently frank with their patients. It is a matter of every-day experience that patients very often are not entirely frank with their medical advisers. I do not hold it to be a duty of the doctor to tell the patient the name and properties of the medicament which he prescribes. To do so is virtually to take the patient into counsel as to the merits or demerits of the remedy in question, and few laymen possess the requisite technical knowledge to qualify them to consult with the doctor on such matters. The exceptional instances only prove the rule. Yet the doctor must be both frank and explicit in his direction as to dietary, mode of life, administration of remedies, etc. To do less than this would be to fall

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