The meaning of persons in medicine
Peter J Nolan
Department of Internal Medicine, Toowoomba Hospital, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia; Rural Clinical School, University of Queensland School of Medicine, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia
Abstract: Modern health care is at risk of dehumanizing the patient encounter. Pressures of containing costs, maintaining efficiency, and benchmarking with scientific advancements may blur the essential responsibility of medicine: to care for the sick person. Mechanisms common in most health systems have already transformed the sick person from an individual to a numerated entity. Reflecting on three personal vignettes, the subtlety of this trend is highlighted and the challenge to maintain humanness is explored.
Keywords: ethics, patient focus, commitment, clinical care, humanness
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