Narrative contributes to medical ethics through the content of stories (what they say) and through the analysis of their form (how they are told and why it matters). The study of fictional and factual stories can be an important aid to understanding in medical ethics. The techniques of literary criticism can be applied to the analysis of ethical texts and practices and can inform the understanding of different perspectives in an ethical dilemma. To understand and accept a patient's moral choices, a practitioner must acknowledge that the illness narrative has many potential interpretations but that the patient is the ultimate author of his or her own text.
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