In Search of the Good Doctor

INSTITUTION: Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine

PRESENTER: Martin Kohn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Director, HumanValues in Medicine Program, NEOUCOM

PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Martin Kohn, Ph.D., Director of the Human Values in Medicine Program (email: mfk@neoucom.EDU)

ENROLLMENT: BS/MD; selective; limit:12

SEMESTER: Winter 2000
January 24, 26, 31, February 2, 7, 9, 14, 16 (Monday/Wednesday afternoons 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.)

LEARNING GOALS: What does it mean to be a good doctor? Does it require a kind of heroism? A willingness to always strive toward the highest ideals? An ability to engage one's conscience in reflection of everyday practice? Does it means knowing toward what ends one strives? Toward knowing what to pay attention to? Is there only one type of good doctor? Or are there variations? The good doctor may be one who understands the suffering of patients and knows how illness affects the stories her or his patients lives; how do illness and suffering affect the life of the good doctor? And how does the good doctor shape the greater community in which he or she practices? The course readings and participant writing will serve as the means of addressing the questions above and many others.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: Discussion

OUTLINE:

HEROISM, ALTRUISM AND THE REAL WORLD

SESSION 1 - January 24

Introductions

Stories of conscience and heroic acts in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances

Writing exercise: "Stories of Conscience"

Readings:

Kanafani - "Death of Bed Number 12"

Forster - "The Machine Stops"

McIntyre - "Of Mist and Sand and Grass"

SESSION 2 - January 26

Continue discussion of stories

Share "stories of conscience"

Turn in critical response journals

Discuss individual or small group project

SESSION 3 - January 31

Discuss theoretical works

Choose individual or small group project

Readings:

Sanders - "The Most Human Art"

Komesaroff - "From Bioethics to Microethics"

Kohn - "Beyond Altruism"

Coles - "Medical Ethics and Living a Life"

 

PAYING ATTENTION TO ENDS, TO SELF

SESSION 4 - February 2

Discussion of the physician's character

Turn in critical response journals

Readings:

Kass - "Professing Medically"

Broyard - "Doctor Talk to Me"

O'Connor - "The Lame Shall Enter First"

 

THE STRUGGLE TO BE A GOOD DOCTOR: STORIES BY AND ABOUT DOCTORS

SESSION 5 - February 7

The images of healers

Readings:

Selzer - "Brute"

Williams - "A Face of Stone"

Mates - "Laundry"

Shem - "HMO, DSM, Goodwill Toward Men"

and other stories/poems

Exercise: A letter to yourself, from yourself, "after" 25 years of practice

Videotape: Mrs. Tucker, Her Daughter Emily and Dr. Duff

 

PATIENTS, FAMILIES AND THEIR STORIES OF SUFFERING

SESSION 6 - February 9

Patients' and Families' Stories of Suffering

Readings:

Frank - "Illness as a Call for Stories"

Cassell - "The Nature of Suffering"

Viramontes - "The Moths"

Chekhov - "Misery"

Hall - Poems from Without

Videotape: She's Finally Free

Project presentations

Turn in critical response journals

 

THE GOOD DOCTOR AND THE WIDER WORLD

SESSION 7 - February 14

Discussion of justice and community

Readings:

S. Jackson - "The Lottery"

U. LeGuin - "The Ones Who Walk Away from the Omelas"

A. Walker - "Strong Horse Tea"

Project presentations

SESSION 8 - February 16

Examining one’s calling to help others

Readings:

D. Hilfiker - "Avoidance"

K. Vonnegut - "Fortitude"

A. Jonsen - "The Good Samaritan as Gatekeeper"

Writing Exercise; Write a parable or fable illuminating your notion of a just health care system

Project presentations

Turn in critical response journals

 

REQUIREMENTS: Attendance, participation, critical responses to the readings, short writing

exercises, and independent project

TEXTS: Readings provided.