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I recently finished reading an emotionally difficult but fascinating book called Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande, a Boston-area surgeon who teaches at Harvard medical school, is a wonderful storyteller. This book is about identity and meaning at the end of life and how our healthcare system often prolongs suffering and fails to offer dignity in death. I highly recommend it to everyone, but that’s not really what this article is about.

At one point in the book, the author references a medical ethics study by Ezekiel and Linda Emanuel from the early ’90s called “Four Models of the Physician-Patient Relationship.” It discusses the varying ways in which doctors can interact with their patients who are facing difficult health-related decisions. There is a lot of history behind these modes of interaction, and the health care culture in our country has evolved significantly over the past half-century, but the framework laid out by the Emanuels got me thinking about my own interactions with clients as a real estate practitioner.