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Suffering and the moral orientation of presence: lessons from Nazi medicine for the contemporary medical trainee


Medical trainees should learn from the actions of Nazi physicians to inform a more just contemporary practice by examining the subtle assumptions, or moral orientations, that led to such heinous actions. One important moral orientation that still informs contemporary medical practice is the moral orientation of elimination in response to suffering patients. We propose that the moral orientation of presence, described by theologian Stanley Hauerwas, provides a more fitting response to suffering patients, in spite of the significant barriers to enacting such a moral orientation for contemporary trainees.

  • education for health care professionals

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