In the article “Tip-Toeing towards Conversations about Death”, one thing that stood out to me was when the writer states “the hope is that when a doctor hands a patient a pamphlet, it may start a conversation.” Hoping to start a conversation using a pamphlet sounds a bit insensitive and I can only wonder what the pamphlet contains. We shouldn’t have to rely on a piece of paper to convey the emotions when should emit when speaking to a person about dying.
If emotions and empathy are characteristics that deem us human, why is it so hard for us to use emotions and empathy when approaching death?
In Zussman’s article, “The Patient in the Intensive Care Unit”, he explains how patient’s are losing their autonomy and personhood in the ICU. Doctors in the ICU are not aiming to solve external and underlying problems of the patient’s disease or illness. The doctors in the ICU overwhelming are starting to lose their empathy towards their patients as there are many people coming in and out constantly. But, is it the doctors fault that they are not merely concern about “patient care and feelings” as their job is to save and preserve the life of their patients? There are only a certain amount of physicians within an ICU and they have to treat everyone in a small time period or it could be costly to one’s health. Others may argue that the patients autonomy and feelings should be a big part of their experience in the ICU. But does patient autonomy matter when it involves life or death? Is the patient being selfish for asking more out of the doctors time as they may be risking the life of another person in the ICU?
As we talked about last week in lecture, emotional labor is when you show emotion even though you may not feel the same emotion you are expressing, to provide the patient or the person who you are showing that emotion to with some relief that you care. Wouldn’t this non-genuine emotion take a toll on the doctor though? The doctor, who has to deal with many stresses and pressures, would now have to make an active effort to show a fake emotion when they are really just tired of everything. By essentially faking an emotion and not showing actual empathy, the doctor would possibly wear themselves out and in the process indirectly affect the patient by the tiredness or stress they could hear in the doctors voice. If the doctor can’t express actual sympathy for a patient and has to keep an image in order to make the patient satisfied, is that person really fit to be a doctor?
As we progress into the second midterm, I think back to the first section and can conclude that the second half was definitely more interesting and insightful than the first. In the first section, the professor went over a lot of fundamental debates and keypoints of healthcare and gave an sociological overview of healthcare in the United States. We discussed many problems with it compared to other countries in the world, and came up with potential solutions that we as health care providers and sociologists can do in the future. In the second half of the course, we were really able to delve into details about what medical professionals face on a day to day basis and see the forces that come into play when doctors see their patients. Continue reading “Process Reflection 2”
In Allen Smith’s article, “Managing Emotions in Medical School”, the topic of the physician-patient relationship is discussed. Smith focuses on the conflicting emotions that students in medical schools must wrestle with. For example, students in the article expressed feelings of embarrassment and attraction towards some of their patients.
Obviously, maintaining a professional relationship is essential for the physician to do when interacting with his/her patients. However, to what degree should Goffman’s theory of dramaturgy be followed? Should the physician fully objectify his/her patient through following the “script” that is deemed appropriate by the medical society? Is it possible that the roles that the physician and patient are expected to play actually hinder the quality of treatment the patient’s receive?