To the Editor: For a time the correspondence section of the major pediatric journals was unfortunately devoid of nonscientific controversy. A few years back the principal topic centered around the increasing dissatisfaction of a number of pediatricians with the practice of pediatrics. I trust these gentlemen have resolved their problem satisfactorily to allow the rest of us to continue. In the horizon there now looms the question of what should be told a child who has leukemia.
Most of the advice is coming from "large" centers in the form of generalizations based on "controlled studies," "statistics," and the like. How can the subject of impending death, as it relates to a child, be anything but a personal and intimate matter? How can controlled studies and statistics take into account the close, hour-to-hour relationship between the young patient, his playmates, his parents, and the attending physician? These relationships are best brought