Features

Suffering, Agency, and the Value of Early and Late Life

‘Do no harm’ is the first principle in both research ethics and bioethics, conveying an inherent ambiguity in the biomedical imperative to create healthier and longer human lives. As such, both medical intervention and research have always straddled the delicate border between care and violence, exposing how doing good can be easily transformed into or confused with doing harm. This …

Features

Breathing Room: Poetic Form as Resistance to Convention in the Ethnography of Suffering

Here I ruminate on recent writing experiments at the convergence of poetry and ethnography as a means to convey experiences of suffering. Recent ethnographies of suffering highlight innovative ways medical anthropologists embed themselves in their accounts of others’ suffering, as well as their misapprehensions about what occurs in this process of witnessing. Dwelling in these misapprehensions shows the obvious potency …

Features

Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …

Features

Burning down the house: When crisis becomes daily life in early-onset dementia

For my doctoral research, I interviewed family members living with a loved one with early-onset dementia, a diagnosis that one receives under the age of 65. Jans, not his real name, was the fourth person I interviewed in April 2015. Since he lived in a remote village in the east of the Netherlands, we met at a train station to …

Features

“I do want euthanasia, but not now.” Timing a request for euthanasia with dementia in the Netherlands

Sitting on orange seats in the corridor, Ms Verbeek, her niece Hannie and I are waiting for the general practitioner. Ms Verbeek seems a little restless and is quiet. She is 79 years old and lives by herself in a small town in the south of the Netherlands. We have met several times before, sometimes one on one, and sometimes …

Books

Miguel Kottow’s El Pa[de]ciente

This article is part of the series:

El Pa[de]cienteEl Pa[de]ciente: La medicina cuestionada. Un testimonio.

[The Suffering Patient: Medicine questioned. A testimony.]

by Miguel Kottow

Ocho libros. 2013, Reprinted 2014. 171 pages.

 

Note: The original version of this review was written in Spanish by Sebastián Medina Gay and published in the Chilean Journal of Public Health (Rev. Chilena de Salud Pública 2014; 18(2):227-229). It has been translated