, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 93-94
Date: 23 Nov 2012

Personhood: an inconvenient truth

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The ultimate goal of medicine is the service of the person. This axiom, implied in the Hippocratic Oath, assumes that life, health, and freedom from discomfort are preconditions for the full expression of personal riches. All cultures seem to subscribe to this axiom, irrespective of religious beliefs or social and political organizations, situation in which one may consult a physician with the goal of “getting worse” in terms of health or of symptoms.

Surprisingly, the references to the person are scarce and inconsistent in the medical literature. Somehow the medical literature, that is, the medical establishment appears to skirt the issue on the tacit assumption that consensus exists on personhood and that any new exploration of this construct is unnecessary. Somehow the medical industrial establishment may feel threatened by a deeper exploration of personhood, on the fear that renewed awareness of personhood may threaten current medical practices as well as the conduct of medical rese