Empathy is broadly understood as an attunement to the suffering, needs, or experience of another. In health humanities, many see empathic responsiveness as a core value of the field (Johanna Shapiro et al. 2009; Campo 2005; Charon 2001). And yet when it comes to twenty-first-century health care, empathy seems to be that which is too often lacking. This paradox positions us to ask, What exactly is this unique sensibility, and how did it become so entwined—problematically so—with the work of clinicians in our current high-tech medical world?

This essay may be found on page 75 of the printed volume.

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