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"You don't treat people like you can trade them in for something"

News: May 08, 2017

What is digninty? What duties does it give to that person? What role does it play in how providers work with patients?
These were some of the questions discussed at Friday’s seminar within the Medical Humanities Network
.
”Each human possesses the dignity of a person. We are capable of self-knowledge, self-possession, we can connect with people”, said Kenneth Richman, Professor of Philosophy and Healthcare Ethics at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. He is currently visiting professor at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science, and is interested in what role dignity should play in interaction with patients.

Richman says that each human is valuable in themselves. Not like money – that is valuable because you can buy things with it.
”You can’t give it away. Once you have it, you don’t lose it” he said.
”We event reat dead bodies with dignity.”

Everything either has a price, or dignity. Whatever has a price can be replaced by something else – but humans can not.
”This is universal, you don’t treat people like you can trade them in for something.”
It might seem obvious, but can be tricky to fully accept. As an example, Richman mentioned the bombings during the Boston Marathon in 2013. The perpetrator was taken to the same hospital as the people who were injured and the nurses had to treat him as a person, regardless of what they thought about him.
”You can’t take away his dignity. How can he have the same dignity as the people who were hurt by him?” Richman asked.
This – as well as the line between an foetus and a person, therefore a human with dignity – raises new questions to discuss.

BY:
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Page Manager: Katarina Wignell|Last update: 3/27/2017
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