Courage and Tragedy in Clinical Medicine
Shelp, Earl E.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1983 Nov; 8(4): 417-429.
The idea that the physician patient relationship is potentially tragic in nature and provides a context in which courage can be a relevant virtue is explored. This relationship is often characterized by danger, risk, uncertainty, and choice--features which also function as necessary conditions for courage. Physicians and other health personnel should function as a "sustaining presence" to patients, even when healing powers fail, while patients have a duty within the clinical relationship to recognize and accept their vulnerability and mortality. (KIE abstract)