This article discusses the ethical necessity of health care workers telling their patients the truth about both their diagnosis and prognosis. This necessity is based upon respect for persons, utility, and kindness. Within this ethical obligation to tell the truth, however, there are several different ways in which the truth can be told. In particular, this paper stresses that telling patients the truth is best thought of as a process that unfolds over time, and which is driven by what the patient knows and what they want.



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