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The Nature of Clinical MedicineThe Return of the Clinician$
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Eric Cassell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199974863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199974863.001.0001

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The Patient, the Doctor, and the Relationship

The Patient, the Doctor, and the Relationship

(p.215) Chapter 9 The Patient, the Doctor, and the Relationship
The Nature of Clinical Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Oxford University Press

Medicine is a profession based on relationships-the relationship of medical students to their teachers and the relationship between patients and their doctors. One of the major failings of the model of the scientific doctor of the 20th and 21st century has been the failure to accept the vital importance of these relationships because they are subjective, personal, and unique to the participants and not open to science. In this chapter, the stories of a number of seriously ill patients are presented in which the sickness is related to the patient’s inability to achieve goals and purposes. In each case the disease that is the source of the patient’s impairments of function cannot be made better, but the sickness can be helped, and the crucial relationship between clinician and patient is the path to success. The success of clinicians and clinical medicine depends on the creation and utilization of relationships.

Keywords:   relationships, relationships with patients, sickness, sickness versus disease, function, goals

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