I just finished this fascinating article on cultural conflicts that can exist between patients and physicians. The case presented is simple and realistic, and the commentary provided very thought-provoking. The author touches on a wide array of cultural topics such as autonomy, privacy, and differing cultural standards, along with a thorough dissection of a variety of pre-conceived notions that both patients and physicians may bring to the clinical setting. The article ends with a rational suggestion on how cultural conflicts can still result in quality, patient-centered care, and includes a good justification for when and how to yield to a patient's wishes when they are in conflict with the physician's beliefs.
"Patient-centered medical care is not only a rejection of “my way or the highway” thinking; it is also a commitment to meeting patients on their own terms and respecting their values. We need to enhance our focus on commonality, rather than on difference, especially as the United States becomes more diverse. Providers must avoid thinking in “us versus them” terms—not only because “us versus them” is a false dichotomy but also because such thinking decreases the resolve to meet patients where they are."