, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 158–165 | Cite as

Empathy as Care: the Model of Palliative Medicine

  • Natalia Ruiz-JuncoEmail author
  • Daniel R. Morrison
Social Science and Public Policy


This article elaborates the ascent of what we call the empathy as care model in contemporary medicine. We make the following arguments: First, does empathy mean care? We examine this question in the context of medicine. We argue that empathy may not mean care throughout all medical practice, as findings from the medical education field show. However, empathy as care is rising in one specialty, palliative and hospice medicine. This specialty best represents the ideal-typical traits of the empathy as care model. This work contributes to the sociology of health and illness literature and to interpretivist sociological theorizing by examining empathy within the context of heath care meant to relieve pain and discomfort, often at the end of life, rather than curative medicine.


Empathy Palliative and hospice medicine Interpretivism Sociological theory Care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyAnthropology & Social Work Auburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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