Letters to the Editor   |    
A Family's Request for Deception
Daniel K. Sokol, MSc, MSc, MA1
1 Medical Ethics Unit 3rd Floor, Reynolds Building St. Dunstan's Road London W6 8RP United Kingdom daniel.sokol@talk21.com
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In support of his research for or preparation of this work, the author received grants or outside funding from the Wellcome Trust. He did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the author is affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2006 Aug 01;88(8):1892-1892
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To The Editor:I would like to question some of the assumptions made by Capozzi and Rhodes in their thought-provoking article "A Family's Request for Deception" (2006;88:906-8) and, dare I say it, suggest a view less critical of benignly intended deception.The authors assert that "over time, deception and lies are usually revealed." This may not be true. I suspect that most deceptions by physicians— whether selfish (e.g., to cover up an error or to avoid an awkward conversation) or benignly intended (e.g., to spare a patient some distress)—are never discovered. In a study that I conducted as part of a PhD thesis (as yet unpublished), I asked eighty-five physicians working in the United Kingdom how often they believed deception was used by physicians. Forty-five percent answered "often" and 46%, "occasionally." These results suggest that physicians' deception may be more prevalent than is commonly thought. I suspect only a fraction of these deceptive acts are detected by patients.
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