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Doctors as Patients : An Interpretative Study of Two Literary Narratives

Wistrand, Jonatan LU (2018) In Ars medica 13(2). p.5-22
Abstract
Medical practice could be described as a drama in which doctors and patients are two actors with very different roles to play. While doctoring has traditionally been regarded as a rational and reliable activity, patienthood has been characterised by compliance with, and confidence, in the medical system. However, when doctors become ill this dichotomisation of medical practice is challenged. The aim of this article is to examine how this challenge has been literary described. By interpreting one autobiographical work – A leg to stand on (1984) by Oliver Sacks – and one fictional – A Country Doctor (1919) by Franz Kafka – the phenomenon of the ailing physician is exemplified and explored through narrative analysis. In the fictional, as well... (More)
Medical practice could be described as a drama in which doctors and patients are two actors with very different roles to play. While doctoring has traditionally been regarded as a rational and reliable activity, patienthood has been characterised by compliance with, and confidence, in the medical system. However, when doctors become ill this dichotomisation of medical practice is challenged. The aim of this article is to examine how this challenge has been literary described. By interpreting one autobiographical work – A leg to stand on (1984) by Oliver Sacks – and one fictional – A Country Doctor (1919) by Franz Kafka – the phenomenon of the ailing physician is exemplified and explored through narrative analysis. In the fictional, as well as in the autobiographical, narrative the 'doctor as patient' is primarily presented as a paradox and a deviation from normality. After recovery, however, doctors’ illness experiences are regarded as a valuable resource in their continued medical practice. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Ars medica
volume
13
issue
2
pages
5 - 22
ISSN
0100-2627
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0de4262c-7dd1-4692-86f5-b4c0b6b84adf
alternative location
http://ars-medica.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/611
date added to LUP
2019-04-17 12:40:23
date last changed
2020-04-08 13:15:17
@article{0de4262c-7dd1-4692-86f5-b4c0b6b84adf,
  abstract     = {Medical practice could be described as a drama in which doctors and patients are two actors with very different roles to play. While doctoring has traditionally been regarded as a rational and reliable activity, patienthood has been characterised by compliance with, and confidence, in the medical system. However, when doctors become ill this dichotomisation of medical practice is challenged. The aim of this article is to examine how this challenge has been literary described. By interpreting one autobiographical work – A leg to stand on (1984) by Oliver Sacks – and one fictional – A Country Doctor (1919) by Franz Kafka – the phenomenon of the ailing physician is exemplified and explored through narrative analysis. In the fictional, as well as in the autobiographical, narrative the 'doctor as patient' is primarily presented as a paradox and a deviation from normality. After recovery, however, doctors’ illness experiences are regarded as a valuable resource in their continued medical practice.},
  author       = {Wistrand, Jonatan},
  issn         = {0100-2627},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {5--22},
  series       = {Ars medica},
  title        = {Doctors as Patients : An Interpretative Study of Two Literary Narratives},
  url          = {http://ars-medica.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/611},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2018},
}