To the Editor: I congratulate Haslam on his excellent overview of the role of empathy in medicine.1 He rightly reminds us that empathy is not vague or ill defined; rather, its presence improves clinical outcomes, and it can be both learned and lost. I would go further and argue that empathy is not an optional extra but a clinical competence essential for sound medical practice, no matter what our specialty. All clinical practice requires a doctor–patient relationship, the core skill of which is empathy.
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