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In Healers: Extraordinary Clinicians at Work, by David Schenck and Dr. Larry Churchill, and in What Patients Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Health Care, their follow-up with Joseph Fanning, the authors look at the everyday experience of health care and the relationships that shape it. They call attention to the ethical dimensions of the clinical encounter and the hope for, and desirability of, a genuine human engagement between the clinician and the patient. In their view, healers are clinicians who cultivate a therapeutic relationship with their patients. They identify a set of skills that accomplish this, including welcoming patients to the clinical space, attentive listening, and feeling and showing a deep respect for the patient as a person.

The authors distill the skills or lessons of patient-centered care from in-depth conversations with patients about their experience of health care, rather than from abstract ethical principles or cliniciancentered codes. The central inquiry of What Patients Teach is "[w]hat new possibilities for being human can we discover if we listen carefully and deeply enough to what patients have to teach us?" Here, I expand upon that inquiry by exploring the experiences and challenges of patients with disabilities and by exploring what patients with disabilities can teach us about the everyday ethics of health care.



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