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Healing Relationships

Abstract: In a 2015 Hastings Center Report essay, Robert Truog and his coauthors argued that the clinical ethics portion of medical education should cast both a wider and a finer net than is sometimes realized. Many of the morally important moments in patient care are missed if we teach only general moral principles, they held; we also need to give attention to an indefinite stream of “microethical” decisions in everyday clinical practice. In the current issue, Truog plays out a similar theme as he discusses the moral significance of touching a patient and asks how artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies may change this ancient part of the physician-patient relationship. And one of the articles in this issue examines the significance of clinicians’ relationships with other clinicians. Donna Chen and colleagues propose, in effect, that “teamwork” has become part of the ethics of everyday clinical practice—a new addition to what Larry Churchill and David Schenck called the “healing skills.”

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