Consent and Trust in the Doctor Patient Relationship

Consent and Trust in the Doctor Patient Relationship
Book Chapter
Philipp Bonhoeffer, Federico Festa, Lamia Ait Ali, Pierluigi Festa
The Patient as a Person, 21 March 2023 [Springer]
Trust, defined as an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something is an immensely precious subject matter in medicine. However, the historical doctor/patient relationship based on trust alone has shown important shortcomings. Consequently, the medical consent developed for the interest and legal protection of patients. This in turn led to a vulnerability of doctors who then needed to defend themselves whenever litigation occurred. As a result, the formal medical consent has rapidly shifted in its application as a protection to health professionals, far removed from its original purpose. Vigilance and trust need to be carefully balanced. After educating patients for years to be vigilant about wrong doings of doctors, patients have lost the clear benefit and comfort that trust brings in a good patient–doctor relationship. It is known that trust plays a major role in the healing process. Trust, therefore is a good thing and there is no reason why the positive effect of trust should be neglected in classical medicine.

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