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April 1985

Denial in Clinical Medicine: A Reexamination of the Concept and Its Significance

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Community Medicine, Center for Ethics, Medicine and Public Issues, and the Institute of Religion, Texas Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine (Dr Shelp), and the Department of Psychiatry, University of California Service, San Francisco General Hospital (Dr Perl).

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(4):697-699. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360040129027

• It is argued that, due to the diversity of meanings attaching to the term "denial" considerable imprecison exists in the clinical use both of the term itself and of its associated concepts. An obvious danger in this situation is that the term should be rendered unserviceably vague. Less obvious dangers include infringements of patients' rights and a tendency to foster paternalistic decision making. Amending the term's clinical usage is made with recommendations.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:697-699)