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Book and Media Reviews
May 24/31, 2006

Autonomy, Ethics

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(20):2415-2420. doi:10.1001/jama.295.20.2416

The primary focus of Patient Autonomy and the Ethics of Responsibility is the patient-physician relationship—specifically, what physicians must contribute to promote an ethically sound relationship with their patients. Alfred I. Tauber, MD, joins the growing chorus of voices that reject the simplistic view that physicians need only facilitate autonomous decision making by providing patients with pertinent information about the available options. What he refers to as the “ethics of responsibility” requires (much) more of physicians. They must help patients identify and understand their own values, select suitable options, cope with fears and anxieties, live with pain and suffering, and so forth. Physicians must attempt to understand their patients, empathize with them, and care about and for them. In short, physicians must practice what Tauber refers to as “humane,” “patient-centered” medicine.

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