Affirming the Existential within Medicine: Medical Humanities, Governance, and Imaginative Understanding [Book Review]

Journal of Medical Humanities 29 (1):55-59 (2008)
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This paper first distinguishes governance (collective, autonomous self-regulatory processes) from government (externally-imposed mandatory regulation); it proposes that the second of these is essentially incompatible with a conception of the medical humanities that involves imagination and vision on the part of medical practitioners. It next develops that conception of the medical humanities, as having three distinguishable aspects (all of them distinct from the separate phenomena popularly known as “arts-in-health”): first, an intellectual enquiry into the nature of clinical medicine; second, an important dimension of medical education; third, a resource for moral and aesthetic influences upon clinical practice, supporting “humane health care” as the moral inspirations behind organised medicine. Medical humanities sustains these three aspects through paying proper attention to the existential and subjective aspects of medicine. By encouraging authentic imagination among health care practitioners, medical humanities aligns well with both humane health care and governance in the sense of self-regulation. However, it can neither be achieved mechanistically nor well-measured through proxies such as patient satisfaction. Above all, it should not be allowed to supply, through inappropriate qualitative “targets,” new forms of management tyranny



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Citations of this work

Rethinking Medical Humanities.Luca Chiapperino & Giovanni Boniolo - 2014 - Journal of Medical Humanities 35 (4):377-387.
The Ethical Imperative of Medical Humanities.Geoffrey Rees - 2010 - Journal of Medical Humanities 31 (4):267-277.
Dignity and Narrative Medicine.Annie Parsons & Claire Hooker - 2010 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7 (4):345-351.

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