Dignity and the essence of medicine: the A, B, C, and D of dignity conserving care
Kindness, humanity, and respect–the core values of medical professionalism–are too often being overlooked in the time pressured culture of modern health care, says Harvey Chochinov, and the A, B, C, and D of dignity conserving care can reinstate them
“To the typical physician,” he wrote, “my illness is a routine incident in his rounds while for me it's the crisis of my life. I would feel better if I had a doctor who at least perceived this incongruity … I just wish he would … give me his whole mind just once, be bonded with me for a brief space, survey my soul as well as my flesh, to get at my illness, for each man is ill in his own way.
Anatole Broyard, essayist and former editor of the New York Times Book Review1
Broyard's words underscore the costs and hazards of becoming a patient. The word “patient” comes from the Latin patiens, meaning to endure, bear, or suffer, and refers to an acquired vulnerability and dependency imposed by changing health circumstances. Relinquishing autonomy is no small matter and can exact considerable costs.2 These costs are sometimes relatively