KeywordsCodes of Ethics
Physician Patient Relationship
Philosophy of Medicine
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AbstractA physician's lack of humanity is a general complaint in public surveys. The physician-patient relationship is viewed by the public as being reduced to a business relationship where the patient feels that she is merely a 'client' and the physician a healthcare 'practitioner' instead of a 'care giver'. This public perception is not a phenomenon that is peculiar to Lebanon. Yet, the problem has been increasing over the years to the extent that patients feel that physicians are becoming inhumane and business oriented. While this might not characterize all physicians of the 21(st) century, this might be true of at least some. Responses were collected from a study that was undertaken based on a questionnaire distributed to a pool of 650 participants from different geographical areas and different social and educational backgrounds in Lebanon. Participants were all older than18 years and mentally competent. None were physicians. The questionnaire was open-ended and initially piloted among a random sample. The physician traits most desired by the public were found to be: moral traits (41%), interpersonal traits (36%), scientific traits (19%) and other (4%). The most unwanted traits/behaviours were a lack of interpersonal traits (57%), a lack of moral traits (40%) and a lack of scientific skills (3%). The physician-patient relationship was perceived, in general, as being a flawed one. What can be done to remedy the image of the Lebanese physician that has been projected in the minds of the patients and the public at large? Nine major recommendations are presented.
Developing World Bioethics 2010 April; 10(1): 22-29