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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 Six: Readers’ reception of patient imaging in medical case reports

Extract

After the examination of patient imaging in the corpus of medical case reports, the other step of the empirical part was to complement the results of the textual analysis. This decision was guided by the conviction that the outcomes of the linguistic investigation and their interpretation reveal only selected aspects of the examined matter and that they should be confronted with the lay people’s perspective on the issue under study. This assumption is in line with the second definition of the term discourse, i.e., the comprehension of a text (O’Halloran 2003, cf. subsection 1.1. in Chapter One), which was adopted for the purpose of the present work. Such a step, however, is not often taken in discourse studies. As a consequence, while the analyses of language samples in various frameworks proliferate, it is more difficult to find research that would offer more than the linguist’s analysis and interpretation of language usage.

It needs to be stressed at this point that the perspectives other than the linguist’s should not be considered merely in terms of validating or refuting the results of his/her studies. Admittedly, these perspectives may happen to do so, but, more importantly, they may also shed light on the outcomes and add another dimension to the studied matter. In other words, other angles do not leave the results closed in the hermetic box of the linguistic analysis and interpretation, but provide alternative and/or non-specialist viewpoints. It is the present author’s belief that these viewpoints may prove to...

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