The Angry Amish Grandfather: Cultural Competence and Empathy:
A Case Commentary
James L. Benedict, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 28, no. 3 (Fall 2017): 236-8.
Crosscultural encounters are common in the delivery of healthcare, and cultural differences may contribute to misunderstandings and ethical conflict. Encounters between members of the Amish ethno-religious group and modern, science-based healthcare providers hold a high potential for misunderstanding and conflict because the Amish stridently maintain a countercultural outlook and they approach such encounters with suspicion and anxiety. This commentary on the case presented by Amy E. Caruso Brown, MD,1 involving a grandfather’s resistance to treating a child with leukemia commends this physician for successfully managing the case and deriving important insights from reflection upon it. It argues, however, that the level of conflict most likely would have been reduced if the care team had made more of an effort to listen to the grandfather and acknowledge the emotional trauma he had suffered.
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