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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When Doctors Treat Patients Like Themselves

By Abigail Zuger
The New York Times
Originally posted May 19, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Professional training may not remove the interpersonal chemistry that binds us to some and estranges us from others, but it can neutralize these forces somewhat, enough to enable civilized and productive dialogue among all comers. Yet until the day when we deal only in cells, organs and genes and not their human containers, we will, for better or worse, always see ourselves in some patients, our friends and relatives in others, and our patients will likewise instinctively experience doctor as mother or father, buddy or virtual stranger.

Are the ties that bind us for better, medically, or are they for worse? Is health care more effective when patient and doctor are the same — the same sex, class, race, tax bracket, sore feet and cholesterol level? Or does essential objectivity require some differences? When your doctor looks at you and sees a mirrored reflection, is that good for you, or bad?

The entire article is here.