Anthropology 227 – Medical Anthropology January 22 nd 2013
Narratives show people resisting the sick role
- Sometimes patients know more about the illness than the clinician
There is a dynamic between the well informed patient, and the “all-knowing”
clinician. These two worlds interact – clinicians today are struggling with the
dramatically informed patient.
What should a clinician do if the patient doesn’t do what they want?
Dismiss the patient, because there needs to be a sense of trust of the clinician’s
perspective of treatment
- Illness narratives could potentially shift to healing narratives
- Bring meaning, helps explain the meaningness
- Brings forth the “why” – how to move forward with the narrative of an individual
- Illness narratives can bring forth all of the experience for both the individual and
In order to understand why people do/do not do what you want must realize that people
are not an empty vessel that can be filled with medical knowledge.
- If you’re talking to a clinician who has one foot out the door
= inclined to feel unimportant
- The humanity of medicine, the art of medicine, the science of medicine
Science and medicine is not the same thing
Narratives give us a taste of that difference
- The experience of something is very central to the analysis of the situation
Article Presentation: The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine by
Eric J. Cassel
- Patients often suffer as a result of treatment
- What is suffering?
- 1. Suffering is experienced by person: Personhood
2. Suffering occurs when an impending destruction of the person is