The ethical theory I find very interesting and will have a huge impact on my daily practice is Martin Buber’s theory. I chose to talk about this theory because after few years of practicing medicine I started feeling that I have been dealing with patients as objects with the goal of healing them. Physicians and patients may be constrained from achieving good relationships by the very nature of their interactions, which are planned and purposive.
Buber examined how people relate to each other and behave in moral or immoral ways. He divided these relationships into four levels as identified in the Morrison’s text. The two levels I find very relevant to our daily life, whether personal or professional is the “I-IT” and the “I-THOU” levels.
The “I-IT” relationship emphasizes on the objectification of the others without paying attention to their feelings or understanding their views. It is a strategic relationship and is applied to achieve goals and accomplish outcomes.
The “I-THOU” relationship involves a good deal of respect and a genuine interest in the others views. It is conscience-oriented. It is acting on principle and believing in the right thing. It is characterized by spontaneity, subjectivity, reciprocity, and recognition and acceptance of the unique other.
This theory is clear in its value because of the emphasis of community. I believe Buber’s theory is humanistic. It is an understanding of people and reformation of society. He sees the importance of understanding as lying in the act of communicating and not the result of communicating. His theory is not scientific thought. Scientific includes objectivity, usefulness, testability, and prediction of future outcomes.
Our medical practices are mainly based on objectivity, detachment, abstraction, and experience. This can result in a progressive decline of the inter-human relationships that define medicine. Buber's thoughts suggest three conceptual shifts that facilitate the development of therapeutic relationships in medical practice and have implications for medical education: (1) from disease-centered to person-centered care, (2) from crisis to everyday management, and (3) from principles and contracts to relationships.
I believe this theory is very important because it does help lay the foundation for moral and ethical thinking by health care professionals in dealing with patients. As we have learned that there is no such thing as 100 percent, no health care professional is going to give a patient a guarantee, because there are no guarantees when you are dealing with the human body, but at least you can provide the patient with the best treatment and relationship that he or she deserves as humans like you.
I strongly believe that studying this theory in this class will significantly affect the way I practice medicine, as a matter of fact, this already happened few times in the last week....