Ethics and Multiculturalism in the Patient-Physician Encounter

To enter the world of medicine as a patient is to engage in a multicultural exchange. Imagine, then, those who come to medicine with language, customs, or an understanding of illness different from that shared by the wider U.S. culture of which medicine is a subculture. Featured cases take a close look at a Cambodian man whose doctors diagnose post traumatic stress disorder and suggest treatments unknown in his culture, a woman from West Africa whose husband speaks for her and whose children disagree with their father’s message, and an Hispanic boy whose mother says he suffers from susto—believed to result from a frightening experience that causes the soul to leave the body. The remaining articles examine federal and private initiatives being taken to close the gaps in communication and understanding that are inherent in medicine’s cross-cultural exchanges. 

Volume 9, Number 8: 521-593 Full Issue PDF