A critical ethnography of doctor–patient interaction in southern Iran

Ahmad Kalateh Sadati, Mohammad Taghi Iman, Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, Soghra Derakhshan

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2016.042


Doctor–patient interaction is a subject with ethical ramifications, besides being an important issue in medical sociology. The main goal of this critical study is to explore the interactional experience of hospital admitted patients. For this reason, the study, carried out in an educational hospital in southern Iran, entailed 156 recorded clinical consultations, 920 hours of participant observation, and six focus groups consisting of patients and their families. The research method used is Critical Ethnography, which was introduced by PF Carspecken. The results showed that negative interactional experience was common among the participants. Six related themes were: doctors’ inattentiveness; weak interaction; violation of patients’ privacy; unjustified pain; long waiting period and ambiguity; and faceless physicians. According to the participants’ observations, poor interaction with doctors has led to these negative experiences. The findings showed that doctors were inconsiderate about patients’ concerns and due to this, patients were dissatisfied. Theoretically, this form of fragmented collaboration has deep roots in the framework of modern medicine, but in the context of this study, the intensity of the fragmentation between doctors and patients was observed to be intolerable. To solve this problem, models of patient-centredness and narrative medicine are recommended. In addition, the health system should monitor and evaluate the observance of ethics by physicians.

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