Introduction: A Hospitable Welcome

Arthur W. Frank

in The Renewal of Generosity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780226260150
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226260259 | DOI:
Introduction: A Hospitable Welcome

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This chapter considers fundamental medicine: face-to-face encounters between people who are suffering bodily ills and other people who need both the skills to relieve this suffering and the grace to welcome those who suffer. Medical generosity lies in that latter quality—the grace to welcome those who suffer. The chapter's conviction is that at the start of the twenty-first century, the foremost task of responding to illness and disability is not by devising new treatments. The challenge is to increase the generosity with which it offers the medical skill that has been attained. Pharmaceuticals and surgeries, diagnostic techniques and institutional provision of services are crucial tools of medical work, but here the chapter leaves these in the background. Before and after fundamental medicine offers diagnoses, drugs, and surgery to those who suffer, it should offer consolation. To offer consolation is an act of generosity.

Keywords: fundamental medicine; medical generosity; grace; illness; disability; diagnoses; surgery; consolation

Chapter.  4294 words. 

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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