Short stories aren’t perfect, either. Like doctors, fiction writers have their own biases and limitations, and the traditional Western canon represents a rather narrow (and mostly white and male) perspective. But unlike the pseudo-objective tone of case studies, stories like “Fetishes” at least attempt to promote overlooked points of view. And instructors certainly could seek out stories by authors of diverse backgrounds.
Overall, Nash says he’d prefer to “jettison” medical-ethics case studies entirely. He writes in an email, “The real world is messy, of course, and ethics cases often teach us (implicitly) to clean up that mess by oversimplifying it.” Furthermore, case studies “are themselves a byproduct and reflection of clinical practice’s overemphasis on efficiency. Not just in primary care, but in many areas of medicine, doctors spend far too little time really