This essay, written for a symposium issue on “Relationship Centered Health Care: Implications for Law and Ethics,” advances the claim that welcome — underappreciated and under-theorized — is a primary professional obligation of health care professionals. It further presents the concept of welcoming responsibility as an essential orientation for careful bioethical practice. To be successful, all methods of bioethical analysis — whether Principlism or approaches that emphasize care, community, solidarity, or professionalism — rely on the presence of individuals who are radically open to the presence of all others and ready, willing, and able to take responsibility for what is going on. The classic case of Payton v. Weaver, involving a “disruptive dialysis patient,” is then discussed from a perspective of welcoming responsibility, revealing that all of the professionals involved in the case — physicians, lawyers, and judges — might have better responded to the challenges presented by it if they had approached the person who appeared to them in need with genuine, responsible welcome.

Margaret E. Mohrmann & Lois Shepherd, Welcome, Healing, and Ethics, 50 Wake Forest Law Review, 259–286 (2015).