Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In Timmermans’ Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy many points were brought up that overlap what we talk about a lot in discussion and lecture. In this piece, Timmermans described how a patient’s social status/value pre-determines the effort given by those trying to revive them. Specifically, Timmermans said that, “during reviving efforts, age still remains the most outstanding characteristic of a patient’s social viability “; meaning that more effort will be put into reviving someone who is 25 compared to someone who is 95. Continue reading “Social Death as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”


Why aren’t we teaching doctors how to think?

In the book “How Doctors Think”, Groopman introduces us to a woman named Anne Hodge who had a long history of illness. She has visited doctors regularly for years but still saw her health deteriorating. Many of these doctors diagnosed Anne with different ailments but nothing seemed to alleviate the pain and nothing got to the source of her illness. No doctor communicated with her effectively or listened to her. With this case, Groopman discusses the nature of thinking and how a doctor comes to his conclusions. Groopman believes that future generations of doctors are being “conditioned to function like…computers” (Groopman, p. 6). Future doctors should not only focus on scientific aspects of disease and illness but also the physical and social implications they present. Groopman discussed Anne Dodge’s visit with her doctor, Dr. Myron Falchuk. Instead of just looking at scientific factors he looked at her as a person and what he saw on the outside was highly telling. She was “suffering” (Groopman, p. 11) immensely and her symptoms weren’t adding up. Dr. Falchuk was able to give her the proper diagnosis and Anne was finally able to get relief from the disease. It is astonishing that it took 15 years to help this poor woman. My question is why are we still using and teaching old practices or methods of finding and curing disease when they are simply not working or do not target the problem? Groopman suggests that “open ended questions” (Groopman, p.18) are necessary to allow the patient “freedom of speech” (Groopman, p.18). Why aren’t these practices taught or utilized in today’s medical training? Why isn’t this a focus? Why aren’t we teaching doctors how to think?

Doctors or Robots – What is going on with this generation of doctors?

In the excerpts of How Doctors Think, Jeremy Groopman explores a common theme revolving around doctors and how they approach their patients. In the immediate introduction, he tells the story of Anne Dodge, who had been misdiagnosed for so long that she her body was so close to completely shutting down on her. Groopman emphasizes that poor communication between doctors and patients, and doctors lack of empathy towards patients and willingness to actually HEAR them, contributes immensely to the all-to-common problems of misdiagnosing and overtreatment. Groopman also demonstrates how this current generation of doctors are programmed to function as computers, rather than caring and empathetic humans. “Every morning as rounds began, I watched the students and residents eye their algorithms and then invoke statistics from recent studies. I concluded that the next generation of doctors are being conditioned o function like a well-programmed computer that operates within a strict binary framework” (pg.6).

And so with all this being said, my question is this – Who/What is to blame for the lack of empathy and lack of humanistic qualities that doctors currently possess? Do we blame medical schools for enforcing strict rules and forgetting to instill such basic qualities in a doctor or do we blame and criticize doctors individually? How do we begin to fix these problems?

Process Reflection 2

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”

Emotions In Medicine

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?