To the Editor: Whether or not a child with a fatal illness should be told (Agranoff, J. H., and Mauer, A. M.: What Should the Child With Leukemia Be Told, Amer J Dis Child110:231 [Sept] 1965) may depend no so much on the geographic circumstances of his medical care as on the religious background of the physician.
Biblical references are rather clear-cut on this subject, as pointed out by Jakobovits1:
When the Syrian King Ben Hadad asked Hazael to inquire from the Prophet Elisha whether he would survive his sickness, the Prophet sent word: "Go, say unto him, 'Thou shalt surely recover'; howbeit the Lord had shown me that he shall surely die" (II Kings 8:10).
He then cites later rabbinic and Midrashic sources, in which "the rabbis insisted on maintaining the patient's hopefulness not merely by witholding information of his imminent death, but by positive
MENDELSOHN RS. WHAT SHOULD THE CHILD WITH LEUKEMIA BE TOLD? Am J Dis Child. 1966;111(1):109–110. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1966.02090040145023
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