Health & Medicine Sociology
Chapter 19: Health & Medicine: (Compass notes)
The Black Death:
x 1346 news reached Europe about plague coming from the East (originated in Asia)
x Contact w/ infected sailors became infected as well
x Black death killed 1/3 of European population (most devastating catastrophe)
x Today, cause for plague is known (a bacillus spread from lice to rats to people)
x 14th C. nothing known about germs ?W}ouvs/voP]}v}µ}[uZ}}o
to discover the cause of plague
x Professors came up with the following theory: the planets unfortunate combination caused hot,
humid conditions which caused earth to emit poisonous vapours. Prevention: not sleeping
during day, not cooking things in rain H2o, not bathing, specific dietary restrictions etc.
x Upper class left to country side and jews were hygienic (religion) Æ survived
x Some groups more likely to die than o/s (health risks unevenly distributed)
x Health = medical & social issue as well (unequal health distributions b/w gender, ethnic groups,
x Health problems change over time
o 20th Century medicine = more advanced ? X in life expectancy
o Life expectancy : avg age @ death of the numbers of a pop.
x Life expectancy in Canada in 1831 = 40 for men & 42 for women
x Canada 2006, girl 83 & boy 78 (more time to experience health diseases Æ degeneration
x Ignorance of med in medieval times
x BUT, medieval times stressed importance of prevention today, impt Æ cures
Health & Inequality:
Defining & Measuring Health:
Health ~t,KW^]o]Ç}(v]v]À]µoto achieve their potential & to respond positively to the
o Basic resources for health: income, shelter, food, info & life skills
x Oldest person to live: Jeanne Louise Calment (122) died 1997
x Swaziland = lowest (33) && Canada= 80
x Highest avg. (-) country avg. = yrs of avoidable social causes
x Social causes= big impact
The Social Causes of Illness & Death:
Health & Medicine Sociology
Three social causes:
1) Human-environmental factors.
o Environmental conditions promote good health or influence poor health
Ex: sour gas & logging operations around reserves of Lubicon (1st nations)
o Environmental racism: tendency to heap environmental dangers on the disadvantaged
2) Lifestyle factors.
o Poor diet, drug use, lack of exercise, isolation Æ poor health & early death
3) Factors related to the public health and health care systems.
o Public/ private health care systems
o Public health system comprises govt. run programs that ensure access to clean drinking
h20, basic sewage & sanitations service, and inoculation against infectious diseases.
o Health care systemW}u}}(v]}v[o]v]UZ}]oU}l(]o]](}vµ]vP
health & treating illness.
Absence of these leads to X illnesses and shorter life expectancy
Country of Residence:
x HIV/Aids= leading cause of death in urban Haiti
x Poverty Æ prostitutes (catered to foreigners) some carried HIV which led to aids
o Absence of good health care (made it worse)
x Country prosperity Æ biomedical advantages
x Sound health system = (+) impt.
x Industrialized countries Æ health systems mid 19th C.
x Infant mortality in Canada, states ($$ countries) is low
o Infant mortality: # of deaths be4 age 1 for every 1000 live birth in a pop/ yr
Class Inequalities & Health Care:
x Ppl at a lower level in the social hierarchy usually have lower life expectancies & Xhealth probs
x High stress levels & inability to cope w/ it.
o Linked to various physical and mental pros (BP, cancer, violence, substance abuse etc)
o Rich ppl can more easily take days off work
o Problems are more stressful for poor ppl (car probs)
o Longer hours Æ make ends meet
x Difference in the earliest stages of development that have lifelong consequences.
o Poor nutrition during pregnancies, and growing years
x Lack of knowledge.
o Less informed about how to live a healthy lifestyle (exercise/ balanced diets etc.)
x Unequal access to health resources.
o Canadians in rural area have less facilities (less clinics, doctors etc)
x Environmental exposure.
o Poor people tend to live near health hazards (dumps, factories, pulp & paper mills etc)
Health & Medicine Sociology
Racial Inequalities in Health Care:
x Aboriginal life expectance 7-8 yrs shorter than non-aboriginals
x Aboriginals= poor Æ drug abuse X
x Negative health outcomes b/c of social exclusion based on race.
x Racial discrimination in housing (envio hazards, p access to health facilities etc)
o Those who do seek it, encounter hostility & racism
Gender Inequalities in Health Care: The Feminist Contribution
x Women live longer than men but their health is negatively affected by differences b/w women
vuv[ access to gender appropriate medical research & treatment & economic resources
needed for good health care
o Divorces (female shorter end economically) X risk of poverty (widows included)
Comparative Health Care from conflict & Functionalist Perspectives:
x United states spend more on health care & have more docs than Canada and Japan
x Still, states have a X rate of infant mortality & a shorter life expectancy than Canada & Japan
o Why? b/c gap b/w rich & poor is greater than o/ rich countries
o Also b/c health care costs (+) $ in states
x 50 million Americans lack health insurance & another 50 million lack adequate coverage
x The relatively privileged obtain health services at high prices while the less well-off are priced
Social Policy: What do you think?
x Americans pay more for prescriptions than any1 else
x American drug manufactures justify their high prices b/c they need it for research &
o But only 12.5 % goes to R&D
x Pharmaceutical most profitable industry in states
N 1346 news reached europe about plague coming from the east (originated in asia) N contact w/ infected sailors became infected as well. N black death killed 1/3 of european population (most devastating catastrophe) N today, cause for plague is known (a bacillus spread from lice to rats to people) N 14th c. nothing known about germs 9ykl izl 2 l yzkz to discover the cause of plague. N professors came up with the following theory: the planets unfortunate combination caused hot, humid conditions which caused earth to emit poisonous vapours. Prevention: not sleeping during day, not cooking things in rain h2o, not bathing, specific dietary restrictions etc. N upper class left to country side and jews were hygienic (religion) survived. N some groups more likely to die than o/s (health risks unevenly distributed) N health = medical & social issue as well (unequal health distributions b/w gender, ethnic groups, strat levels)