1st Edition

Stories Matter The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics

Edited By Rita Charon, Martha Montello Copyright 2002
    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 2002. The doctor patient relationship starts with a story. Doctors' notes, a patient's chart, the recommendations of ethics committees and insurance justifications all hinge on written and verbal narrative interaction. The practice of narrative profoundly affects decision making, patient health and treatment and the everyday practice of medicine. In this edited collection, the contributors provide conceptual foundations, practical guidelines and theoretical considerations central to the practice of narrative ethics.


    Rita Charon, M.D. is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the Program in Humanities and Medicine at Columbia University. Martha M. Montello is Associate Professor of History and the Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical School.

    "Many of the contributors to Stories Matter are major players in [the] narrative movement. Here, they practice what they preach, building their essays on stories of patients...This collection provides a fascinating introduction to the field of narrative ethics. It points readers in myriad directions...It should prove useful to ethicists, health care professionals, patients' advocates, and patients themselves, as they collaboratively write a new story of ethical behavior." -- New England Journal of Medicine
    "Stories Matter assembles a stellar cast of literary theorists and bioethicists to make the most systematic case yet for the importance of literary studies to humane, ethical medical practice. Bioethicists, medical humanists, and reflective clinical practitioners will find this a valuable addition to the rapidly growing literature on narrative ethics." -- Arthur W. Frank, author of The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics
    "Stories have assumed an influential place in reshaping the morphology of contemporary biomedical ethics. Anyone interested in assessing the eventual place of narrative in moral reasoning and case consultation should read these essays." -- Edmund D. Pellegrino, editor of Jewish and Catholic Bioethics: An Ecumenical Dialogue
    "The papers are thoughtful and careful, and advance the discussion of medical narratives
    ." -- Christian Perring, Dowling College, Long Island, Metapsychology Online Review