MARTHA L. ELKS, M.D., Ph.D.
To the editors: A recent editorial suggested that "the humanities can bring the focus of medical education back to caring for the patient rather than treating the disease (1). In my experience, most courses in English, history, or other areas of the humanities involve analytical dissection of works of literature or events in history while ignoring or belittling any emotional or moral response to the situations. The addition of humanities courses to the medical curriculum would not bring caring back to the bedside.
Caring is not taught by lecture or discussion group—it is taught by example and experience—and only learned
ELKS ML. The Humanities in Medical Schools. Ann Intern Med. 1985;102:414. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-102-3-414
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(3):414.
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