Clinical Medical Anthropology

I picked to further analyze clinical medical anthropology because I believe that this is very relevant to my future in the medical field. I also believe it is a very important type of anthropology to learn more about and become familiar with. In the future I will be working in clinical settings, such as hospitals. Clinical medical anthropologists work with patients and doctors in order to make the relationship between the two as strong as possible. They take into consideration the idea of culture and believe that both the patient and doctor need to work together to understand each others culture since they both may have different backgrounds and beliefs. It is important that in clinical settings that everyone is on the same page and understand each other. It makes the whole process much easier and smoother.

Let’s imagine that I am working for a doctor in a local clinic.  This doctor is very old-fashioned and hasn’t been very open to the changing perceptions of new medical treatments. An older patient that has stage 3 colon cancer comes into the clinic and requests to receive his medical marijuana card. The gentlemen claims that he is in a lot of pain and has horrible migraine a couple times a week. He explains to the doctor that the medical marijuana helps ease his symptoms and makes the end of life easier for him. The doctor is absolutely against medical marijuana and doesn’t even consider that option. As a clinical medical anthropologist, my goal is to help both sides of the party come to an understanding of where the other person is coming from and help them reach an agreement. I will help to let the doctor know current studies and advantages of medical marijuana so he is not so narrow minded. I will also try and help come up with an alternative treatment that both the doctor and patient can agree on so that everyone is happy and comfortable.

Karim, Taz. “Lecture 6.1 Applied Medical Anthropology.” ANP 204 Course Website. East Lansing, MI, August 8, 2014.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Breanna Ramsay says:

    I too agree that it is important for both doctors and patients to be on the same page while giving and receiving treatment while in the hospital. Clinical medical anthropologists can be a good intermediary between doctors and patients. As you mentioned they take into consideration both the culture and beliefs of the doctor and patient. They recognize that doctors and their patients may come from completely different cultures and backgrounds and that it is possible for there to be misinterpretations and misunderstandings regarding communication between the two. Clinical medical anthropologist work very hard to make sure doctors understand where their patients are coming from and their understandings of disease and illness as well as treatments. They also try and make sure patients fully understand what doctors mean when they are talking about different diseases and illnesses and how doctors want their treatment plans to be put in place. If there is any problems with requested treatments or procedures clinical medical anthropologists also work to help find a happy medium that suits both the doctor and patient.
    I also really liked your example of how a clinical medical anthropologist could help in a situation where a more old fashioned doctor does not see the method of treatment the patient wishes to receive as a viable option and readily dismisses it.

  2. Lindsey Green says:

    I agree that clinical medical anthropologists do help and work with the patients and doctors to make the relationship between the two stronger. Clinical medical anthropologists are the bridge between patient and doctor, connecting all the missing pieces and disconnection. These medical professionals understand more about the patient’s background and history more than the doctors so it is important for doctors and other medical professionals to be in close contact. Not only do clinical medical anthropologists help the doctor better understand the patient but they also help the patient better understand their own medical issues. Your example of how a clinical medical anthropologist is spot on to me. When I think of a clinical medical anthropologist this is the exact type of example I would imagine. Clinical medical anthropologists help find the common ground between the clinical side of things and the patient side of things. It is a very good field of work in that regard. A clinical medical anthropologist will better understand the patient and can really relate the situation to the medical professional thus mainly getting what is best for the patient. The clinical medical anthropologist is the middleman or messenger man. They can’t really make diagnoses but they can heavily weigh them with their own opinion.

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