Considering my future goals and current views and feelings towards health, clinical medical anthropology makes the best match. Not only do I agree with a shared wealth of knowledge and feel that more opinions can only help, I also feel it is important to consider other aspects of someone’s life before making assumptions about their health. These are only a few of the characteristics I hope to carry into the medical field as, hopefully, a future physician. Clinical anthropologists as talked about in lecture work with health care professionals in a clinical setting, such as doctors to enhance the patient experience and health management to clear up these assumptions. The anthropologist looks outside of the doctor’s realm and considers cultural and social aspects of the patient’s life. This allows for a different view of the sick role for the doctor. Instead of just analyzing the symptoms themselves, it can be better understood why the patient feels worse in the mornings ie: they don’t eat breakfast regularly or maybe even why they didn’t come to seek help earlier (job problems, lack of money, no transportation, etc). There can be many reasons why someone is feeling sick resulting in a variety of sick role experiences.
I feel that this view on healthcare is very important. I found an example online that helps support my opinion. Basically a Mexican HIV positive man and his young son come to the doctor. The man lost his wife to AIDS the past year and is just now getting to the doctor. At first, the doctor just assumes that the man knows very minimally about HIV and its consequences and it questioning why he has not brought his son in yet. After following an anthropologist and her analysis, it is found that the man knows very well of HIV and what it can do. Lack of care for his son came from his low paying, night shift job that made it difficult for them to attend the doctor and receive care. Instead of a cultural misunderstanding as the doctor assumed, it was a socioeconomic situation that prevented the care. Sometimes I feel as though doctors just assume that if someone is not getting care right away, they don’t want it or don’t understand the circumstances. As far as I am concerned, most people will “self treat” as we talked about earlier in the semester and will WebMD the situation. Usualy, they will Google the symptoms, medications, long-term affects, etc, if they have access to such information to find out information. Patients are not always unknowledgeable about the situation at hand, it can be a misunderstanding stemming from how the situation at hand is viewed.
Kleinman, Arthur. “Anthropology in the Clinic: The Problem of Cultural Competency and How to Fix It.” PLOS Medicine:. October 24, 2006. Accessed August 9, 2014.