When is it OK for a doctor to hug a patient?
"We don't want to deny a patient or physician a moment that can bring healing," says Dr. Mark Kuczewski, director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University Chicago, yet he stresses hugs between vulnerable patients and doctors become difficult when the nature of the affection might be misunderstood by the patient or physician. Acknowledging the uniqueness and delicateness of the patient-physician relationship as well as the emotionally-charged situations that can happen in a clinical setting, Kuczewski maintains it's imperative that the person who initiates the hug be the less-powerful person and that the hug—or sign of support—seem natural and unforced.
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