The Healing Factor of Virtue in Medicine: Why physicians should apply virtue ethics to best fulfill their professional role
Wijck, N. van
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In the current health care systems the focus seems to be less and less on the moral aspect. The current dominant biomedical model of medicine holds that diseases should be defined according to the abnormal microphysiological parts and processes that constitute diseases, and that microphysiological processes are the object of medical intervention. This, together with the shift in medicine from general care to specialist care, the large-scale character of medicine, bureaucratic demands and technologicalization, is resulting in the depersonalisation of the medical profession. In this thesis, the trend towards depersonalisation is considered a problem because it obfuscates the strongly moral dimension of the doctor-patient relationship, which should be central to the practice of medicine. Morality is referred to as a healing factor in medicine. This doctor-patient relationship has become the subject of a debate because it has come under pressure due to the aforementioned depersonalisation. The technological model has become so dominant that we need a renewed focus on the personal dimension of medicine. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate that virtue ethics in the Aristotelian tradition can promote the personal and moral aspect within medicine, and that this especially contributes to the patient's healing process as well as the physician’s well-being.