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In the era of health democracy, where a patient’s right to be informed is not only widely advocated but also guaranteed by law, what is the real situation regarding patient information? Do patients receive the information that they request with regard to their diagnosis, prognosis or treatments? And what information do patients themselves give to their doctors? Drawing on observational research in hospitals and covering the exchanges between doctors and patients on the subject of cancer treatment and that of other pathologies, this book reveals that the practice of telling lies is widespread amongst parties on both sides of the medical relationship. With attention to the manner in which information of various types is withheld and the truth concealed on either side of the doctor-patient relationship, the author explores the boundaries between what is said and what is left unsaid, and between those who are given information and those who are lied to. Considering the misunderstandings that occur in the course of medical exchanges and the differences between the lies told by doctors and patients, An Anthropology of Lying: Information in the Doctor-Patient Relationship analyses the role of mendacity in the exercise of, and resistance to power. A fascinating study of the mechanisms at work and social conditions surrounding the accomplishment of lying in medical settings, this book casts fresh light on a subject that has so far been overlooked. As such, it will appeal not only to sociologists and anthropologists of health and medicine, but also to medical professionals.
The question of recourse to self-medication arises at the intersection of two partly antagonistic discourses: that of the public authorities, who advocate the practice primarily for economic reasons, and that of health professionals, who condemn it for fear that it may pose a danger to health and dispossess the profession of expertise. This books examines the reality of self-medication in context and investigates the social treatment of the notion of autonomy ever present in the discourses promoting this practice. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in France, the author examines the material, cognitive, symbolic and social dimensions of the recourse to self-medication, considering the motivations and practices of the subjects and what these reveal about their relationship with the medical institution, while addressing the question of open access to medicines – a subject of heated debate between the actors concerned on themes such as competence, knowledge and responsibility. A rigorous analysis of the strategies adopted by individuals to manage the risks of medicines and increase their efficacy, Self-Medication and Society will appeal to sociologists and anthropologists with interests in health, illness, the body and medicine.
Diagnostic procedures are emblematic of medical work. Scholars in the field of social studies of medicine identify diverse dimensions of diagnosis that point to controversies, processual qualities and contested evidence. In this anthology, diagnostic fluidity is seen to permeate diagnostic work in a wide range of contexts, from medical interactions in the clinic, domestic settings and other relations of affective work, to organizational structures, and in historical developments. The contributors demonstrate, each in their own way, how different agents ‘do diagnosis’, highlighting the multi-faceted elements of uncertainty and mutability integral to diagnostic work. At the same time, the contributors also show how in ‘doing diagnosis’ enactments of subjectivities, representations of cultural imaginaries, bodily processes, and socio-cultural changes contribute to configuring diagnostic fluidity in significant ways.
Foucault's classic study of the history of medicine.
Three out of four people addicted to heroin probably started on a prescription opioid, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States alone, 16,000 people die each year as a result of prescription opioid overdose. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the prescription drug epidemic is that it’s built on well-meaning doctors treating patients with real problems. In Drug Dealer, MD, Dr. Anna Lembke uncovers the unseen forces driving opioid addiction nationwide. Combining case studies from her own practice with vital statistics drawn from public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, she explores the complex relationship between doctors and patients, the science of addiction, and the barriers to successfully addressing drug dependence and addiction. Even when addiction is recognized by doctors and their patients, she argues, many doctors don’t know how to treat it, connections to treatment are lacking, and insurance companies won’t pay for rehab. Full of extensive interviews—with health care providers, pharmacists, social workers, hospital administrators, insurance company executives, journalists, economists, advocates, and patients and their families— Drug Dealer, MD, is for anyone whose life has been touched in some way by addiction to prescription drugs. Dr. Lembke gives voice to the millions of Americans struggling with prescription drugs while singling out the real culprits behind the rise in opioid addiction: cultural narratives that promote pills as quick fixes, pharmaceutical corporations in cahoots with organized medicine, and a new medical bureaucracy focused on the bottom line that favors pills, procedures, and patient satisfaction over wellness. Dr. Lembke concludes that the prescription drug epidemic is a symptom of a faltering health care system, the solution for which lies in rethinking how health care is delivered.
Against a backdrop of real clinical situations, Benjamin H. Levi examines the dynamics that shape relations between patient and health care provider, addressing fundamental questions about how medical decisions should be reached and compelling the reader to think about health care issues and decisions in terms of the values and goals they promote. Presenting bioethics as a practical, educational activity rather than an abstract intellectual exercise, this important volume shows how dialogue between patients and health care providers can clarify both medical and ethical issues, promoting patient autonomy and advancing health care.

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