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Introduction: A Rising Hostility in American Medicine 

Introduction: A Rising Hostility in American Medicine
Introduction: A Rising Hostility in American Medicine

Michael J. Balboni

and Tracy A. Balboni

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date: 28 October 2020

A spiritual sickness lies over American medicine. As an introduction to Hostility to Hospitality, this chapter depicts the sickness as a growing hostility within the patient–clinician relationship. Forms of this hostility are revealed by three paintings completed around the turn of the twentieth century that depict a depersonalizing relationship between patients and clinicians. The book’s motivation is to describe why spiritual care is avoided or neglected by clinicians within the context of serious illness and then to consider the large-scale cultural consequences of this divorce between medicine and spirituality/religion. In moving from empirical and sociological description to theological analysis and concluding with public policy considerations, the chapter proposes a new partnership model for medicine and spiritual traditions.

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