Can Doctors Maintain Good Character? An Examination of Physician Lives
- 460 Downloads
Can doctors maintain good character? This paper shifts the focus from patient care to ethical considerations that bear on the physician and impact her as a person. By decentering patient care, the paper highlights certain factors that habituate a particular way of reasoning that is not conducive to inculcating good character. Such factors include, standards of professionalism, being influenced by external monitors, and emphasis on adherence to guidelines. While such factors may benefit patients, they often adversely affect the character of physicians.
KeywordsCharacter Physician Professionalism Virtue Empathy Compassion
I would like to thank Alison Reiheld, PhD. and Erik Krag, PhD. for their constructive feedback on earlier drafts and the invaluable anonymous reviewers for their feedback on the latter versions. This paper also would not have been possible without the indispensable input from Huzaifa Quaizar, MD.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. 2013. “Lifestyle & Income for Family Physicians.” Accessed February 15, 2016. http://www.aafp.org/medical-school-residency/choosing-fm/lifestyle.html.
- Aristotle. 1989. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by D. Ross, Rev. J. L. Ackrill & J. O. Urmson. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bailey, Alison. 2000. “Locating Traitorous Identities.” In Decentering the Center: Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial, and Feminist World, edited by Uma Narayan and Sandra Harding, 283-298. Indianapolis, Ind.: University of Indiana Press.Google Scholar
- Canale, Del S., D.Z. Louis, V. Maio, X. Wang, G. Rossi, M. Hojat, J.S. Gonnella. 2012. “The Relationship between Physician Empathy and Disease Complications: An Empirical Study of Primary Care Physicians and their Diabetic Patients in Parma, Italy.” Academic Medicine 87 (9):1243-9.Google Scholar
- DeNavas-Walt, Carmen and Bernadette D. Proctor. 2015. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington, DC.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Accessed February 15, 2016. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.pdf
- DHS: Department of Health. 2012. “Transforming Care: A National Response to Winterbourne View Hospital, Department of Health Review: Final Report.” Accessed November 1, 2013. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213215/final-report.pdf.
- Gallagher, Charles A. 2003. “Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America, Race, Gender & Class.” Privilege and Race, Gender, and Class 10 (4): 22-37.Google Scholar
- ———. 2000. “The Nonexistence of Character Traits.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100: 223-226.Google Scholar
- Hojat, Mohammadreza, Michael J. Vergare, Kaye Maxwell, George Brainard, Steven K. Herrine, Gerald A. Isenberg, Jon Veloski, and Joseph S. Gonnella, 2009. “The Devil is in the Third Year: A Longitudinal Study of Erosion of Empathy in Medical School.” Academic Medicine 84 (9): 1182-1191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hursthouse, Rosalind. 1999. On Virtue Ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- MacIntyre, Alasdair. 2007. After Virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 3rd Edition.Google Scholar
- Maslach, C., and M.P. Leiter. 1997. The Truth about Burnout. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
- Maslach, C., S.E.Jackson, and M.P. Leiter. 1996. MBI: The Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
- Medical Group Management Association Survey. 2013. “Physician Compensation includes Quality and Patient Satisfaction Components.” Accessed February 15, 2016. http://www.mgma.com/about/mgma-press-room/press-releases/physician-compensation-includes-quality-and-patient-satisfaction-component.
- Montgomery, Kathryn. 2005. How Doctors Think: Clinical Judgment and the Practice of Medicine. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Neumann, Melanie. Friedrich Edelhäuser, et.al. 2011. “With Medical Students and Residents.” Academic Medicine 86 (8): 996-1009.Google Scholar
- Pellegrino, Edmund D. 2008 (1995). The Philosophy of Medicine Reborn: A Pellegrino Reader. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
- Pellegrino, Edmund D., and David C. Thomasma. 1993. The Virtues in Medical Practice. New York City, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Reverby. Susan M. 2012. “Ethical Failures and History Lessons: The U.S. Public Health Service Research Studies in Tuskegee and Guatemala.” Public Health Reviews 34 (1): 1-18.Google Scholar
- Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1995 (1948). Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate. New York City, NY: Schocken.Google Scholar
- Schaufeli, W. B., and E. R.Greenglass, 2001. “Introduction on a Special Issue on Burnout and Health.” Psychology & Health 16: 501-510.Google Scholar
- Snow, Nancy. 2000. “Empathy.” American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (1): 65–78.Google Scholar
- Studdert, David M., Michelle M. Mello, William M. Sage, Catherine M. DesRoches, Jordon Peugh, Kinga Zapert, and Troyen A. Brennan. 2005. “Defensive Medicine among High-risk Specialist Physicians in a Volatile Malpractice Environment.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 293 (21): 2609-2617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thomas, Matthew R., Liselotte N. Dyrbye, Jefrey L. Huntington, Karen L. Lawson, Paul J. Novotny, Jeff A. Sloan, and Tait D. Shanafelt. 2007. “How Do Distress and Well-being Relate to Medical Student Empathy? A Multicenter Study.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 22 (2): 177–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar