Bioethics: how to recover trust in the doctor-patient relationship

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(Martha Dominguez de Gouveia, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mayumi Cavalcante Hashiguchi, a third year medical student of University Center São Lucas – UniSL from a small city of Brazil named Porto Velho which is the capital of Rondônia, a state in the north of the country, located in Western Amazonia. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The technology transcends almost every sector of human life, from basic to more complex tasks, and health could not be different. Regrettably, technology is been shaped according to the interests of those who control it, thus, there is not neutrality. The technology expands and improves in the direction conditioned to those interests which can have a social, political or economic character.

The benefits involved are many, ranging from improvements in quality of life and increased longevity to new forms of birth, as well as other events. Some advances, such as genomic and pharmacology, are aimed at making medicine more predictive in order to improve public health in general, as well as individual health. One factor involved is the shift from the hospital’s medical practice center to primary care, which is a significant improvement in health care, demonstrating greater resolubility and better management of health sectors.

Another important situation is the attainment of the utopia of beauty, in which people seek more and more for the changes of cosmetic and esthetic standards, performing plastic surgeries and procedures, which can also have an evil, presented as unnecessary and exaggerated fulfillment of procedures. In addition, there is the search for the utopia of pleasure, through the use of drugs that suppress the pain, hallucinogens, that promote physical and psychic pleasure.

According to the “hegemonic medical model,” medicine commodifies, using health as a commodity, medicalization as a solution to various problems and the stimulation of medical consumerism. In addition, this model has prioritized individualism, and made the doctor-patient relationship difficult, mainly due to advances in medical technology, since it examines itself, observes itself and asks itself less, and the time is shorter and shorter. For a medical practice, conversation and individual analysis are irreplaceable and diagnostic driving. Regarding the procedures, there are questions about its safety, efficacy, and comparison regarding the traditional method.

Together with the changes, there is an increasingly aggressive intervention process that affects the essence of the human being, mainly through the manipulation of his genetic identity. In addition, another problem is the adhesion of technological means as a facilitator of clinical practice, in which health professionals begin to record medical records and examinations in virtual databases, and through which patients can be identified, putting at risk relationship of confidentiality and privacy of medical information.

In cases where there has already been a loss of trust in the doctor-patient relationship, the only way to recover the link is through bioethics. With it, it is possible to reestablish it, in order to provide numerous benefits for Medicine. It is also important to take into account Mental Health, not only from patients but also from the professionals, for more humanized care. From the collective point of view, the principle of justice and its application in the allocation of scarce resources in the area of health. Hence, it is vital for medical students to comprehends all the problems involved and learn to deal with each one.

About the author

Mayumi Cavalcante Hashiguchi, a third year medical student of University Center São Lucas – UniSL from a small city of Brazil named Porto Velho which is the capital of Rondônia, a state in the north of the country, located in Western Amazonia. She is a member of IFMSA-Brazil (International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations of Brazil) since the first half of 2017. She studies at a private university with a scholarship. When graduated, she dreams to be a neurosurgeon. Mayumi is a 20-year-old girl who loves to travel and is a compulsive reader.

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