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Doctors and patients: Partners or adversaries?


The author suggests that an inadequate understanding of the ethical relationship between doctors and patients is at the core of many current health care issues. The doctor-patient relationship is discussed with an emphasis on the expectations of patients and physicians. Three sets of expectations or models of doctor-patient interaction are reviewed and a number of health care issues are explored in this frame-work. It is hypothesized that when doctors and patients have similar expectations they will be partners and that when they differ, they are more likely to be adversaries. Finally it is suggested that unless national health policy is designed to take into account the effect of legislation on physicians' and patients' expectations, dissatisfaction with health care will continue to increase.

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Correspondence to Eugene J. Stein Ph.D..

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Stein, E.J. Doctors and patients: Partners or adversaries?. Bioethics Quarterly 2, 118–122 (1980).

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  • Health Care
  • Health Policy
  • National Health
  • National Health Policy
  • Current Health