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Stigma and Medicine

  • Barbara Kohlenberg
Chapter

Abstract

Turning to medicine, it is clear that the values embedded in the Hippocratic Oath involve practicing medicine with honor, competency, and respect. Yet, despite these core values, medical students and physicians still may have thoughts and feelings that are the opposite of these cherished values. These thoughts and feelings may emerge with respect to patient care, and notably, may also involve the care provided for themselves and for their colleagues. For example, with respect to patient care, one may feel that people who are obese are entitled to excellent care and can live a life of worth and integrity, while at the same time, also struggle with thoughts and feelings about that person being a “a slob, weak willed…they did this to themselves…,” and thus, back away from providing effective, compassionate medical care. With respect to physician and medical student self care, one may truly believe that physicians are human and can experience depression and that professional help may be useful, while at the same time, one may also have thoughts about weakness and shame and thus avoid seeking or recommending care.

Keywords

Shame Stigma Obesity Values clarification Depression Physician suicide Mental illness Compassion 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RenoUSA

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