<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 29, Issue 3, September 2021



Rom J Leg Med29(3)339-346(2021)
DOI:10.4323/rjlm.2021.339
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


THE IMPACT OF PHYSICIAN’S MORAL CHARACTER AND EMPATHY IN PATIENT CARE

M. Cuceu, B. Ioan, C. Stefanescu


Abstract: This article outlines the characteristics of the empathic physician emphasizing the impact of the clinician’s moral character in patient care. Moral character is given by the possession of virtues and defines the traits of a good physician. Clinician’s caring abilities remain at the foundation of virtue ethics, enhancing the quality of care.
In Aristotelian conception, virtue shapes a person’s character, makes the person good and helps them do their work well. According to this view, virtue as a concept has a two-folded implication; one involves the fulfillment of personal happiness and the other attains to the final goal of patient care. Studies show that clinician’s virtues contribute to patient healing consolidating clinician’s actions. Scientific literature views virtues as “internal” to medical practice, not as an external set of rules and regulations. Thus, physician’s virtues should be impropriated because they lay the foundation of human care. The clinician’s moral character and its personal relationship with the patient are continually nourished by empathy, sympathy, compassion, fidelity, and unconditional love (agape).
In theory, professional ethics focuses on the obligations that the clinicians have to their patients in order to attain healing. The training in professional ethics should focus on the acquisition of clinician’s virtues and clinical practice should cultivate the applicability of such virtues in medical practice. This article explores the interrelationship between virtue ethics theory and Orthodox Christian theology. Overall the notion of virtues is viewed in light of physician’s moral character, moral excellence and clinician’s healing presence in the act of care.

Keywords: moral excellence, virtues, virtue ethics, Orthodox Christian theology, healthcare, holistic approach, clinical empathy, healing presence, moral formation.



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