Chapter 19: Medicine and Health

one of the social institutions that sociologists study; a society’s organized ways of dealing with sickness and injury
the healing specialist of a tribe who attempts to control the spirits thought to cause a disease or injury; commonly called a witch doctor
a human condition measured by four components: psychical, mental, social, and spiritual
you are not held responsible for being sick, you are exempt from normal responsibilities, you don’t like the role, and you will get competent help so you can return to your routines
Four components of sick role?
professionalization of medicine
the development of medicine into a specialty that requires physicians to obtain a rigorous education, regulate themselves and take authority over clients while claiming a theoretical understanding of illness and presenting themselves as doing a service to society (rather than just following self-interest)
payment to a physician to diagnose and treat a patient’s medical problems
the study of patterns of disease and disability in a population
two-tier system of medical care
a system of medical care in which the wealthy receive superior medical care and the poor inferior medical care
defensive medicine
medical practices done not for the patient’s benefits but in order to protect physicians from malpractice suits
dealing with people as though they were objects; in the case of medical care, as though patients were merely cases and diseases, not people
the transformation of a human condition into a medical matter to be treated by physicians
mercy killing
the practice of sending unprofitable patients to public hospitals
disabling environment
an environment that is harmful to health
alternative medicine
medical treatment other than that of standard Western medicine; often refers to practices that originate in Asia, but may also refer to taking vitamins not prescribed by a doctor .
sociologist study medicine as a social institutions.
what is the role of sociology in the study of medicine?
professionalization, bureaucracy, and the profit motive
What is medicines three primary characteristics?
they believe that health is a biological matter that is intimately related to society. Illness is always viewed from the framework of culture
what is the symbolic interactionists perspective on health and illness?
that there is a sick role
What is the functionalist perspective on health and illness?
health is a scarce resource that people fight over both rich and poor people
what is the conflict perspective on health and illness?
it has changed with our lifestyle
how have health patterns changed over time?
health is only given to the rich
how does treating health care as a commodity lead to social inequalities?
defensive medicine and depersonalization
what are some other problems in U.S. health care?
what is the controversy over physicians helping people end their lives?
HMPs, DRGs, group care, and pay-as-you-go-clinics
what attempts have been made to cut medical costs?
HIV/AIDS, obesity and thinness, alcohol and nicotine, disabling environments, and globalization of disease
what are some threats to the health of Americans?
the U.S. doesn’t care about preventing disease if it isn’t profitable
how is treatment or prevention an issue in medicine?
mcDonaldization of technology and alternative medicine
what is the future of medicine?

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