Developing World Bioethics 18 (1):26-36 (2018)

Abstract
To investigate the phenomenon of patient–physician mistrust in China, a qualitative study involving 107 physicians, nurses and health officials in Guangdong Province, southern China, was conducted through semi-structured interviews and focus groups. In this paper we report the key findings of the empirical study and argue for the essential role of medical professionalism in rebuilding patient-physician trust. Health professionals are trapped in a vicious circle of mistrust. Mistrust leads to increased levels of fear and self-protection by doctors which exacerbate difficulties in communication; in turn, this increases physician workloads, adding to a strong sense of injustice and victimization. These factors produce poorer healthcare outcomes and increasingly discontented and angry patients, escalate conflicts and disputes, and result in negative media coverage, all these ultimately contributing to even greater levels of mistrust. The vicious circle indicates not only the crisis of patient-physician relationship but the crisis of medicine as a profession and institution. Underlying the circle is the inherent conflict of interest in the healthcare system by which health professionals and hospitals have become profit-driven. This institutional conflict of interest seriously compromises the fundamental principle of medical professionalism—the primacy of patient welfare—as well as the traditional Chinese ideal of “medicine as the art of humanity”. Patient trust can be restored through rectifying this institutional conflict of interest and promoting medical professionalism via a series of recommended practical measures.
Keywords China  health professionals  medical professionalism  patient–physician relationship  professional ethics  trust and mistrust
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/dewb.12170
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,940
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Lost in ‘Culturation’: Medical Informed Consent in China.Vera Lúcia Raposo - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (1):17-30.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Medical Professionalism and the Social Contract.Lynette Reid - 2011 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 54 (4):455-469.
Medicine and Money: Friends or Foe ?A. S. Muula - 2006 - Mens Sana Monographs 4 (1):78.
Christian and Secular Dimensions of the Doctor-Patient Relationship.Dana Cojocaru, Sorin Cace & Cristina Gavrilovici - 2013 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 12 (34):37-56.
Trust in Managed Care Organizations.Allen Buchanan - 2000 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 10 (3):189-212.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-09-18

Total views
41 ( #251,909 of 2,426,586 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #122,043 of 2,426,586 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes