GREG SIMON, M.D.
To the editor: In their paper on the humanistic qualities of physicians, Arnold and associates (1) draw distinctions between humanistic attitudes, knowledge, and behavior. There is a second distinction that they tend to blur that seems more central. They discuss the ethical and the interpersonal aspects of the physician-patient relationship as if the two presented the same difficulties and required the same solutions. Although problematic clinical situations often present ethical and interpersonal difficulties tightly intertwined, solving the problem usually requires their separation.
The authors (following the American Board of Internal Medicine) describe "integrity, respect, and compassion" as the central interpersonal
SIMON G. Humanistic Qualities of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. ;106:914. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-106-6-914_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(6):914.
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