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Truth Telling in Medicine

Truth Telling in Medicine Abstract In his article entitled "Offering Truth: One Ethical Approach to the Uninformed Cancer Patient,"1 Freedman describes a valuable pearl for internists, because it provides an additional technique for our most potent procedure, ie, talking with patients and their loved ones. "Truth is good, but not all truth is good to tell" goes the African proverb. To admit that some truth should be avoided—even denied—is a perilous position for an internist, but one that an honest clinician shall encounter in his career. An oncologist once shared this pearl with me: "You must always tell the truth, but you must always tell it with hope and kindness. You can't have the one without the other two." I submit that this construct of truth telling in medicine is like an equilateral triangle. Truth, hope, and kindness are evenly balanced with no one vertex in excess. However, we internists must accept the occasional References 1. Freedman B. Offering truth: one ethical approach to the uninformed cancer patient . Arch Intern Med . 1993;153:572-576.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Internal Medicine American Medical Association

Truth Telling in Medicine

Abstract

Abstract In his article entitled "Offering Truth: One Ethical Approach to the Uninformed Cancer Patient,"1 Freedman describes a valuable pearl for internists, because it provides an additional technique for our most potent procedure, ie, talking with patients and their loved ones. "Truth is good, but not all truth is good to tell" goes the African proverb. To admit that some truth should be avoided—even denied—is a perilous position for an internist, but one...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1994 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-9926
eISSN
1538-3679
DOI
10.1001/archinte.1994.00420020150017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract In his article entitled "Offering Truth: One Ethical Approach to the Uninformed Cancer Patient,"1 Freedman describes a valuable pearl for internists, because it provides an additional technique for our most potent procedure, ie, talking with patients and their loved ones. "Truth is good, but not all truth is good to tell" goes the African proverb. To admit that some truth should be avoided—even denied—is a perilous position for an internist, but one that an honest clinician shall encounter in his career. An oncologist once shared this pearl with me: "You must always tell the truth, but you must always tell it with hope and kindness. You can't have the one without the other two." I submit that this construct of truth telling in medicine is like an equilateral triangle. Truth, hope, and kindness are evenly balanced with no one vertex in excess. However, we internists must accept the occasional References 1. Freedman B. Offering truth: one ethical approach to the uninformed cancer patient . Arch Intern Med . 1993;153:572-576.Crossref

Journal

Archives of Internal MedicineAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jan 24, 1994

References