In this paper I argue that it is morally important for doctors to trust patients. Doctors' trust of patients lays the foundation for medical relationships which support the exercise of patient autonomy, and which lead to an enriched understanding of patients' interests. Despite the moral and practical desirability of trust, distrust may occur for reasons relating to the nature of medicine, and the social and cultural context within which medical care is provided. Whilst it may not be possible to trust at will, the conscious adoption of a trusting stance is both possible and warranted as the burdens of misplaced trust fall more heavily upon patients than doctors.
- doctor-patient relationship
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