From Regen Warth
Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Freiburg, Giovanni Mayo, advocates in principle the medicine of affection.
Stuttgart. Giovanni Mayo is Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Freiburg and Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Ethics. The philosopher and physician, with many years of clinical experience, advocates a stronger return to the personal values of modern medicine. He was an advisor to the German Bishops’ Conference, the Federal Government, and the German Medical Association for many years. – Mr. Mayo, besides professionalism, what makes a good doctor? Being a doctor means looking for an appropriate answer to the need of the person who is asking for help. This answer cannot be pulled out of the tray. It takes a basic desire to engage in the uniqueness of the other by listening only at the beginning. This really gives a tangible picture of what is important to the patient. In short: a good clinician should always combine the laboratory model with the life-world model. Why is communication so important in the doctor-patient relationship? Conversation can be a very useful thing as it can develop a fearsome and reassuring function. At the same time, there is a possibility that speaking together can lead to a community experience. This experience gives the sick person the feeling that they are not alone with their problems in their plight. More than that: by being able to tell stories, one is able to suddenly see oneself and stressful things in a different light. But why do so many doctors find it so difficult? Even if very good doctor-patient discussions are already taking place every day, the focus of medical activity is not primarily on the conversation. The reasons are complex. Time is certainly one reason, as time was first justified away by economics in medicine as a whole. But the doctors themselves often underestimate the importance of the conversation. During their training, they were taught that humans work like machines and that proper technology must be used. In addition, there is uncertainty: a real conversation cannot be planned like an investigation. Are there examples from other countries where the doctor-patient relationship works better? We don’t have to go to other countries. Palliative medicine, for example, is a special approach to the sufferer, from which all medical specialties can learn a lot. The same applies to psychosomatics. Modern relational medicine is also applied in family, pediatric and adolescent medicine. What can patients contribute? It is important that patients do not fall into the trap of viability themselves. Modern medicine can offer a great deal of blessing, but often the problems raised by disease cannot be solved in one fell swoop. In the case of patients, it is necessary to understand that illness represents new tasks that require a new direction in life. If this redirection is successful through care, one will have a chance that the disease is not the end of the good life, but could be a breakthrough to a new way of living well. Everyone should discover these new species for themselves.