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The Changing Relationship between Doctor and Patient
The doctor patient relationship has been a matter of concern from the ancient times, as evidenced by the Code of Medical Ethics prescribed by Hippocrates in 3rd century BC. In older days it was not only a professional relationship, but it also had social and philosophical aspects. It was a noble relationship directly between the physician and his patient. Generally speaking, it was based on mutual respect, knowledge and trust between the patient and his doctor. Until the later part of last century, the codes of medical ethics largely followed the Hippocratic tradition where the physician was held in high esteem, while the rights of the patient were not given due importance. However, the last few decades have witnessed a shift in the situation resulting in increasing empowerment of individuals, emergence of rights activists and enforcement of laws protecting consumers. The authority of decision making is slowly, but definitely shifting from the physician to the patient. The importance of the changing trends in the doctor-patient relationship is supported by the large number of articles and chapters in books written on this subject in the literature.
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