Courage and Compassion: Virtues in Caring for So-Called "Difficult" Patients.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

What, if anything, can medical ethics offer to assist in the care of the "difficult" patient? We begin with a discussion of virtue theory and its application to medical ethics. We conceptualize the "difficult" patient as an example of a "moral stress test" that especially challenges the physician's character, requiring the good physician to display the virtues of courage and compassion. We then consider two clinical vignettes to flesh out how these virtues might come into play in the care of "difficult" patients, and we conclude with a brief proposal for how medical educators might cultivate these essential character traits in physicians-in-training.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hawking, M; Curlin, FA; Yoon, JD

Published Date

  • April 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 357 - 363

PubMed ID

  • 28430569

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2376-6980

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.4.medu2-1704


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States