Trust: the scarcest of medical resources

J Med Philos. 2002 Feb;27(1):31-46. doi: 10.1076/jmep.


In this paper, I claim that the doctor-patient relationship can be viewed as a vessel of trust. Nonetheless, trust within the doctor-patient relationship has been impaired by managed care. When we conceive of trust as social capital, focusing on the role that it plays in individual and social well-being, trust can be viewed as a public good and a scarce medical resource. Given this, there is a moral obligation to protect the doctor-patient relationship from the cost-containment mechanisms that compromise its ability to produce trust.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Empathy
  • Ethics, Clinical*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Managed Care Programs / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Morals
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Social Responsibility
  • Trust*
  • Truth Disclosure
  • United States