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From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 08 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1373
  1. Philip Berry, medical registrar
  1. London

    Jodi Halpern

    Oxford University Press, £29.50, pp 165

    ISBN 0 19 511119 2

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    Like all good inventions, Jodi Halpern's new and “controversial” model of empathy appears to be the result of common sense imaginatively applied. Empathy should, she asserts, result from a willingness on the part of the doctor to take cues from his own emotional responses to a patient's suffering. It requires more than the “detached concern” that she believes, a little harshly I think, is the norm. Nor is an insufficiently intellectual “sympathetic immersion” in a patient's woes enough. …

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