Humanising doctors: what can the medical humanities offer?

J Jill Gordon
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02111.x
Published online: 20 October 2008

The humanities offer tools for wise application of biomedical knowledge and promotion of humane medical care

Writing in the New York Times, columnist David Brooks recently described a “distinct brand of social misfits” in “fields like law, medicine or politics, where a person’s identity is defined by career rank”.1 He fears that their childhoods may have been spent in domestic “achievatrons” that ensured their academic success but compromised their interpersonal skills. Brooks believes that American society produces a disproportionate number of people with a “rank-link imbalance”, which he described as “the social skills required to improve their social rank, but none of the social skills that lead to genuine bonding”. These people have opinions about everything and “treat their conversational partners the way the Nazis treated Poland. They crush initial resistance, and the onslaught of accumulated narcissism is finally too much to bear”.1

  • J Jill Gordon

  • Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.



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