Med Humanities 29:33-36 doi:10.1136/mh.29.1.33
  • Original article

Medical Humanities: a vision and some cautionary notes

  1. S Pattison
  1. Correspondence to:
 S Pattison, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff University, Humanities Building, Colum Road, Cardiff CF10 3EU, Wales;
  • Accepted 15 December 2002


This article aims to engender discussion about the nature and future of medical humanities. First, a normative personal vision of medical humanities as an inclusive movement is outlined. Some of the problems that may emerge if medical humanities conceives itself too narrowly are then discussed. The case of the rise of the medical ethics movement is used to show what can happen to a movement that restricts itself too quickly and then the stages of the “death course of a discipline” are described and assayed. The article concludes with a plea for medical humanities to remain a “broad church”, exploratory, pluralistic movement rather than aiming to become a paramedical academic discipline.