A pediatrician examines a young patient aboard a military hospital ship; US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joan E. Kretschmer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Clinical encounters may be fragile, but they are also laden with possibility.
Anthropologist Cheryl Mattingly spent more than a decade following African American families with critically ill children in Los Angeles: moving with them between home and clinic, paying particular attention to how they cultivate hope in the face of tremendous suffering. Hope, Mattingly explains, is not merely an attitude or emotion, but a practice: actively nurtured and sustained through human interaction. Accordingly, Mattingly focuses upon an interactive space that is crucial in nurturing hope: the clinical encounter.
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Reprinted from The Hedgehog Review 14.1
(Spring 2012). This essay may not be resold, reprinted,
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