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Interpreting chronic disorders of consciousness: medical science and family experience

Edgar, Andrew Robert ORCID:, Kitzinger, Celia and Kitzinger, Jenny ORCID: 2015. Interpreting chronic disorders of consciousness: medical science and family experience. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3) , pp. 374-379. 10.1111/jep.12220

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Rationale, aims and objectives Chronic disorders of consciousness (CDoC) pose significant problems of understanding for both medical professionals and the relatives and friends of the patient. This paper explores the tensions between the different interpretative resources that are drawn upon by lay people and professionals in their response to CDoC. Methods A philosophical analysis of data from 51 interviews with people who have relatives who are (or have been) in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Results The medical specialist and the lay person tend to draw on two different interpretative frameworks: a medical science framework, which tends to construct the patient in terms of measurable physical parameters, and an interpretative framework that encompasses the uniqueness of the patient and the relative’s relationship to them as a social being. Conclusions These differences potentially lead to ruptures in communication between medical professionals and relatives such that that an increased self-consciousness of the framing assumptions being made will facilitate communication and enrich understanding of CDoCs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1356-1294
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 27 May 2014
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 09:07

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