AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. November 1999, Volume 1, Number 3.

Journal Discussion

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Culture and Ethnicity in Clinical Care

Readers are referred to an article by J.T. Berger in a 1998 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine and provided with a list of ethical questions to consider about culture and ethnicity in clinical care.

Articles and books on bioethics continue to expand in both number and the range of topics discussed: between 1989 and 1998, more than 4000 articles alone were published in MEDLINE-cited journals. Some of the major topics examined are the patient-physician relationship, end-of-life care, reproductive medicine, genetics, and the allocation of scarce medical resources. From these publications, we will be selecting a handful of articles and chapters, some of which reflect issues of perennial concern to physicians, others reflect more recent quandries resulting from advances in biomedical technology.

A new article or book chapter will be featured every month, accompanied by questions intended to guide readers along the path of ethical reasoning and to promote discussion.

November Article

Berger JT. Culture and ethnicity in clinical care. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158:2085-2090.

Questions for Berger Article

Some patients from non-Western cultures have difficulty trusting Western physicians.

  • What would be a way of cultivating trust between physicians and patients from these cultures?
  • What ethical and cultural issues should a physician consider when treating a patient from a certain ethnic group or culture who insists on using alternative forms of medicine?
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