Lectures

Chronic living against all odds in Honduras

This article is part of the series:

Yesenia was born with congenital heart disease in 2000, a time in Honduras when heart defects meant certain, if not sudden, death for most children. Owing to surgical advances dating back to the 1950s, most children in more resourced countries could by then be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, significantly improving their chances of long-term survival. In Honduras, …

Lectures

Pains, pleasures, and a new electric wheelchair

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A Wednesday in May 2017, Vienna, Austria

The door opens. Behind it is Frau Schöbel, a tiny woman in her early seventies.[1] Through her glasses, her eyes are piercing. Her lipstick is impeccable and matched to the scarf tied around her neck. 

Frau Schöbel is one of the people I met on the dialysis unit at the City hospital …

Lectures

The ‘chronic’ lives of failing organs: afflictions of ambivalent care in Mexico

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Life has always been difficult, Maria del Rosario told me, but she coped. That was before all the sickness. When her mother’s kidneys began to fail, she felt traumatised, utterly overwhelmed. No matter what she or anyone else did to help, it was no good. Their lives simply fell apart.[i]

Maria, a single mother of two, lived in Balcones …

Lectures

Chronic living: ethnographic explorations of daily lives swayed by (multiple) medical conditions

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On the 12th of January 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed that the “mystery virus” which, according to reports from China, had infected some 50 people in the city of Wuhan, was not SARS following the genetic sequencing of a “novel coronavirus”. Within two weeks, Wuhan’s hospitals were overwhelmed, and the city was sent into lockdown as health authorities …

Lectures

Staying (at Home) with Brain Fog: “Un-witting” Patient Activism

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Scene 1: It’s Sunday afternoon, around one o’clock, and a group of a dozen or so people log onto a video call from their apartments. Occasionally someone’s cat will walk into the frame, obscuring the camera, or a deliveryman will ring the buzzer, interrupting the flow of conversation. But mostly, what we see of each other are scenes of domestic

Lectures

We urgently need to understand the medication histories of COVID-19 victims

This article is part of the series:

On March 18, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Howard Bauchner discussed a possible link between common hypertension medications and a heightened risk of dying with a coronavirus infection. Dr. Fauci directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is a key advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Dr. Bauchner is the Editor of JAMA, …