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Searching for the Patient’s Presence in Medical Case Reports

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Magdalena Zabielska

The book addresses the issue of the patient’s presence in specialist medical publications in the context of a patient-centered approach to medical practice. The author combines both quantitative and qualitative approaches in order to analyze the discourse about the patient in one of the oldest medical genres, case reports. She traces textual references to patients throughout the reports to show that their nature and frequency depend both on the structure of the genre and the context of the production of these texts. The author touches upon the topical issue that although specialist communication may seem to exclude patients, it does not mean it does not concern them. Indeed, they are written about and it appears critical how this is done.
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Chapter Three: Medical discourse in the modern context

Extract

So far two important stages in the history of medicine have been discussed. The first period, “the era of dogma” (Flexner 1990: 52), was characterized by the strong adherence to the teachings of ancient philosophers and thinkers. Doctors followed these dogmas uncritically, treating them as the core of medical knowledge. The end of scholasticism brought about observation as means of getting to the nature of things (cf. section 1. in Chapter Two). This resulted in several important discoveries (cf. section 2. in Chapter Two) and the adoption of a new concept of disease which was further corroborated by various technological inventions (cf. section 5. in Chapter Two). These not only made diagnostic procedures easier and more precise, but also affected the development of medicine as an area of study and practice. Furthermore, these contextual factors had a bearing on the form and content of medical case reports.

Consequently, Chapter Three will present selected events from the history of medicine from the twentieth century onwards and their impact on the status of the patient in the discipline which, by definition, is meant to serve his/her needs. Furthermore, the account of the currently practiced medical model will be given as well as a brief characteristic of medical education as the context of production and reproduction of modern medical discourse. The traces of the present-day intellectual climate in medical discourse in general and in medical case reports in particular will be exemplified as well.

According to Fritjof Capra (1985)...

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