The Importance of Trust in the Physician-Patient Relationship and in Medical Care



In order for the treatment prescribed by the physician to be effective or even to be utilized by the patient, a tacit bond of trust must be established between the two. A contract of trust between physician and patient and articulation of ethical principles of medical treatment were enunciated over 2300 years ago in the Hippocratic Oath and were reiterated centuries later in the Oath of Maimonides. (African American physicians who join the National Medical Association swear to the Oath of Imhotep, the ancient Egyptian physician who was the first person recognized as a doctor in history. The oath was written by Anthony C. Pickett, MD, and published in the Journal of the National Medical Association in 1962). This issue of trust is of paramount significance as one of the determinants of the efficacy and ethics of healthcare delivery in the United States and throughout the industrialized world. In addition, the American Medical Association Code of Ethics states that building relationships of trust with patients is fundamental to ethical practice in medicine. In this chapter, trust will be examined as a principle regarding how it is perceived by the general public, and then it will be analyzed according to how it is perceived by the African American population.


Trust Truth Hippocratic Oath Honesty Confidence Ethics Mistrust White man’s medicine Syphilis Vesicovaginal fistula Human experimentation Disclosure Betrayal of trust FBI US Public Health Service HeLa cells Miscarriages of justice Mayflower Genomic science Healthcare disparities All of Us Slavery 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EncinoUSA

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