The public's increasing dissatisfaction with the medical profession is being expressed more openly1,2: "My doctor doesn't talk to me; he always seems hurried and uninterested in me as a person." "I have seen so many doctors since being admitted; I am totally confused. No one has taken the time to explain what is happening to me, and no one seems to care. Who is in charge here anyhow?" Health professionals hear such comments all too often when patients feel bewildered in an increasingly complex world of medical technology.
The problem is not a new one. In the early 1970s, first-year medical students at a prestigious US medical school were asked to conclude their first patient interview by asking for advice on how to become a good doctor. Unexpectedly, every patient suggested that students should learn to always treat patients as human beings. The clear implication: the patients felt that
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