Goodness and the good doctorBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7366.696 (Published 28 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:696
- Piers Benn, lecturer in medical ethics and law.
- Imperial College
Philosophers since Plato have wondered what goodness is, but what does the term mean when ascribed to doctors? Notice that if I call Dr Jones a good doctor I am not saying that Jones is a doctor who also happens to be good. I am saying that as a doctor Jones is good—good by the standards for judging doctors. In this respect, calling something good is like calling something big or small. A small boil is usually larger than a large pimple. The boil is small relative to the average size for boils.
Thus the good doctor does not have all …