Culture of biomedicine itself is the relationship of the individuals that use this model, western society to explain their conditions and the treatment that is expected. Like stated many times previously doctors are the western societies gate keeper to the pharmaceutical remedies.  The relationship of patients to biomedicine and the development of the culture itself is just as important as the doctor-patient relationship. Dichotomies in terms of medicine are not only logical but necessary for existence. In the western world today as technology grows the need for a doctor-patient dichotomy is necessary to maintain existence through survival of the fittest. With an exponentially growing field of information those who choose to become doctors are allocating portions if their life and mind to gain this knowledge in medicine and the well-being of others which is needed to take care of the majority of the population that choose to take the role of patient. As described in lecture the expert patient has evolved in our culture. We as patients are the most informed medically as we could be and actively take an interest in our health that was not there in past generations. It is understood in this dichotomy in terms of medicine that the doctor is the authority, will provide beneficial information and is trusted by the patient in doing so. As the western world developed so did this dichotomy which ultimately strives in not only benefiting the fittest but curving the rules of life with their knowledge of medicine to ensure the survival of many more thus turning the population into a less fit species constantly needing medicine and doctors to open the and cure the conditions we as a culture have created. The need for medication as a culture was described in the video Pill Poppers. It has now become blurred for numerous reasons whether ailments are being cured by drugs or the development of these drugs are creating ailments. The doctor-patient dichotomy was consciously created to solve the problems of humanity with the use of medicine while unknowingly aiding as the biggest ailment against them. 

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Nick Flaga says:

    With vast amounts of medical knowledge and advice available to the patient on the internet, the dichotomy between patient and doctor has never been more important to understand. Patients are now able to self diagnosis themselves much easier than they were years ago. As a result, before seeing the doctor patients have a deeper understanding of various conditions with similar symptoms of their own. While this vast amount of available knowledge may provide the patient with more information on their illness, it can also lead to negative consequences. Often times self diagnosis and vast amounts of misinformation leaves the patients to suspect the worst and forces the physician to talk the patient off the ledge. It also forces the physician to prove to the patient why his diagnosis is correct and why theirs is wrong. It is important for patients to understand and trust the physician and his medical expertise. Physicians on the other hand, must work harder to provide patients, but especially expert patients, with credible and reliable sources of information. A patient who is more educated based on credible information can only be positive for the patient and the physicians. This change should be welcomed by both. However, patients must be prudent in deciding reliable information and careful not to play into the sensationalism of online diagnosing common with expert patients.

  2. Keiana Smith says:

    I agree with you both that the dichotomy of doctor/patient is more credible now than ever. On the other hand, as you stated Nick, when a patient gets information from the internet and “self diagnose” this can lead to many problems. One of those problems are when the doctor basically takes what the patient says and agree with them 100% and prescribe them the medication(s) for their illness; it is no longer a dichotomy. It is becomes whatever the patient tells me I will go along with it just to make money for myself and promote the drug(s)for the pharmaceutical companies. The focus must not be lost that this is one of the most important dichotomies of Medical Anthropology because the relationship between doctor/patient must constantly be studied to understand how biomedicine is constantly evolving. This holds true for our society and other industrialized societies where people rely on going to the doctor or the hospital and not so much the traditional way such as seeking a Shaman. The open relationship between doctor and patient must remain and the confidence and trust must be present as well in order for the patient to receive the best medical attention and treatment they need in order to heal. The patient cannot just tell the doctor what he/she wants in medications based solely on their symptoms and doctor cannot just tell the patient that he/she is not experiencing those symptoms and instead of this medication lets try this. Communication is a two way street on both ends. Being the listener and the teller on both ends is important as well.

  3. pucket10 says:

    This is a great post with good comments as well and I would agree with everyone. The doctor patient dichotomy is an ever growing subject that demands more and more attention because of the lenience and stipulations of prescribing drugs. Leaving the patient to self diagnose themselves could prove to have many negative effects as yes it is promoting the doctor and pharmaceutical companies but at a detrimental cost to health. If a patient assumes that what is given to them to be correct and misuses or is diagnosed incorrectly, it could be a disaster for both sides of the dichotomy while most likely ending up in a lawsuit. I feel that there must be a solid trust between the patient and doctor so that both sides understand that things have a way of easily being misunderstood, especially dealing with such advanced situations and techniques with the advancement of technology. It seems to me that a doctor (regardless of an expert patient) would want to be extremely careful to clarify all details as lawsuits are such a big problem already with biomedicine. It is clear that this dichotomy is critical to the success of both the doctor and the patient and most of all, the health of the patient and the reliability of the doctors advise and diagnosis.

  4. Angela Palmer says:

    I think clinicians must know the proper relationship between a patient and doctor. I mean specifically that a common knowledge and behavior guideline should be set for both the patient and the doctor, but more importantly for the doctor. Professionalism is essential for all doctor patient relationships. The doctor has to maintain a strict professionalism in order to ensure the ‘order’. An order such as knowledge of your patient. A professional doctor will know a hypochondriac from a sick individual. When and what kind of prescription to prescribe must also be known. Overall what I mean by ‘order’ is a good doctor that knows how to treat his/her patient properly and efficiently. The doctor has to set forth this order to ensure proper health care is given. I think doctors can take this relationship for granted. This could result in a misdiagnosis, where someone could get hurt. It could also result in an unprofessional doctor, either too much so or too little. Either way this relationship could be easily taken for granted but, I really feel a good doctor doesn’t do that. I consider the doctor patient relationship as a means to a healer or helper. Yes, of course a doctor can be a healer but I think he/she should also be a helper. If you go into the doctors scared about a rash and the doctor knows it’s nothing too bad, he/she should tell you this and reassure you everything will be okay and what, if any, topical treatments to use. Whether the help and healing is by means of advice, medications/prescriptions, surgery, or alternative methods of care, every doctor should give comfort to his/her patient and perform his/her very best.

  5. mackin24 says:

    I think it is important for clinicians to understand this particular dichotomy because the doctor/patient relationship is a common one we encounter. Think of all the times we have turned to a doctor when we have no idea what is going on in our bodies. Patients must understand that these doctors have had crucial training and schooling to give out this health advice and information. Doctors should also recognize that their patients are people too. A doctor should never mistake their power in the medical field for power over another person. Each patient should be treated with compassion and care as if they were the doctor’s own family member. If the doctors take this doctor/patient relationship for granted they may get on somewhat of a power trip and lose respect or sympathy for their patient. A loss of compassion for the patient may leave the doctor to misjudge their pain and not give them proper treatment. It is important for the patient and doctor to have respect for one another.
    An alternative way to conceptualize this dichotomy would be to put the doctor and patient on a more even level. The doctor should not act majorly superior to the patient and the patient should never feel inferior. This would help the patient to feel more comfortable on a personal level with the doctor and not feel judged or inferior. The drawbacks would be that if a patient felt the doctor was more of a peer than they may not show as much respect and value to the doctors opinion. There are benefits and drawbacks to any alternative approach of biomedicine, but the true peace comes from finding a balance. A healthy balance between the doctor and patients relationship could bring great benefits to the medical field, and initiate a trust between the two.

  6. Rei Gjeci says:

    I find the dichotomy of the doctor and patient relationship to be one of the most compelling and important topics. It is apparent that it is crucial for clinicians to understand this relationship and what comes along with it. As you mentioned past generations might not have known as much information on medicine and with the rise of pharmaceuticals people began to rely on pills and medications to solve social issues. Doctors are the individuals who can provide us with the technologies and medications for a condition if the symptoms are present. They might sometimes get caught up in the money and power and forget to relate to patients as it is a physicians purpose. This would cause the patient to lose trust in the doctor and seek alternative ways to diagnose or heal oneself. A different approach on this dichotomy could come from a non-western point in medicine. Other doctor like figures in some cultures such as shamans have the ability to heal and are trusted in the culture. Many of such cultures might not have the resources to read about an illness and they must trust the knowledge of their elders as well as most respected people of the society. On the other hand, it’s beneficial to have access to information and the opportunity to make the decision for yourself. Technologies in biomedicine are a positive aspect since they provide many chances for improving a disease. Conversely pills and drugs should not automatically become the solution and I believe if we applied alternative and natural ways of healing, it might be a healthier choice.

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