Humanity and "Ordinary Abuse": Learning from Hospital Patients’ Letters of Complaint.

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Humanity and "Ordinary Abuse": Learning from Hospital Patients' Letters of Complaint.

Perspect Biol Med. 2018;61(2):264-278

Authors: Spranzi M

The prevention of abuse is a crucial issue in medical ethics. At the very least, the hospital setting should respect basic human rights, including dignity and life. In this respect, the normative reference to the concept of humanity plays a crucial role. However, the public as well as health-care professionals need to be aware of a more subtle and invisible form of abuse, "ordinary abuse." It can be defined as the undue suspension of the implicit rules of ordinary interactions, whose importance has been stressed by Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel. Moreover, the respect of "ordinary humanity" has an important ethical value, both in promoting "considerateness" and in sustaining a world of experience common to all human beings. Excerpts from a few letters of complaint from hospitalized patients will serve as an illustration of this important phenomenon and its ethical relevance.

PMID: 30146523 [PubMed - in process]

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