We appreciate Dr Cunningham's candor in describing a situation some of us have experienced first-hand.

A disinclination to be the bearer (or recipient) of bad news lies behind many communication failures in the neonatal intensive care unit and beyond. It is no excuse for withholding the truth from families.

Some parents do react with anger to bad news about their child, at least initially. Others, however, are relieved to have their own perceptions confirmed and to have a diagnosis that can serve as the basis for action to help their child.

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