• The emotional reactions aroused by diagnostic laboratory tests were studied in 30 patients, who were interviewed by a psychiatrist within 24 hours after such procedures. Instances of extreme reaction occurred in uninformed or misinformed patients, who not only feared the apparatus but also drew unwarranted inferences as to the nature and gravity of their illness. A second visit to the same laboratory was less disturbing than the first.
The physician's awareness that his patients are frequently uninformed and frightened is a first step toward reducing their discomfort and recognizing their defensive maneuvers. A knowledge of the patient's personality structure and past experiences helps to secure the necessary cooperation and to establish good physician-patient relationships.