The Patient

9781848880108The Patient

Global Interdisciplinary Perspectives


edited by
Kimberly R. Myers


ISBN: 978-1-848880-10-8

250 pages


While pain and suffering are universal, the experience,understanding, and expression of them are not.What it means to be a patient is unique to each individual: for example, what one person experiences as bothersome back pain, another might experience as debilitating. But patienthood also depends on one’s culture, both broadly and more narrowly defined (e.g., one’s ethnicity on the one hand and one’s immediate social circle on the other). Illness is a phenomenon constructed – sometimes passively, sometimes actively – according to the core values of the culture(s) of which the patient is a part. The Patient: Global Interdisciplinary Perspectives seeks to raise critical consciousness of issues confronting patients and contribute to a richer understanding of how one’s culture impacts the lived experience of disease. The chapters in this collection provide a snapshot of situations as they exist in a particular cultural and historical moment. Their long-term value lies in providing important historical documentation of where we are as an international community in the first decade of the 21st century. Hopefully, we can use such historical reminders as yardsticks to measure our progress in healthcare accessibility and funding as we reflect on the similarities and differences that exist between people across the globe, and among the particular communities in which they live.


Introduction – Global Perspectives on Patients: Observations and Implications
Kimberly R. Myers

Section One: Communication
“I’m not sick, I just have pain”: Silence and (Under)Communication of Illness in a Nicaraguan Village
Aleksandra Bartoszko

Trinidadian Patients and Their Cuban Doctors: More than Meets the Eye and Ear
Stella Williams, Beverly-Anne Carter, Amina Ibrahim-Ali, Glenda Leung

Ethical Spaces: Ethical Dilemmas in the Clinical Encounter Between Patients and Their Biomedical and Complementary Healthcare Providers
Ondine Spitzer

Section Two: Stigma
Hallucinations and the Patient
Lorna Lees-Grossmann

The Patient Experience with Psychosis as Seen from the Helper’s Point of View
Geir Fagerjord Lorem

“His body was a map of disease”: Remapping the Body of the Person with AIDS in Robert Ferro’s Second Son
Gian Pietro Leonardi

Section Three: Media
Artistic Transformations of the Patient: Hospitalisation and Personal Agency in Wit and The Cyclist
Judith Musser

Screened Cancer: Cinematic Realism and Creative Metaphorisation in Les Invasions Barbares
Esther-Lee Marcus and Amir Cohen-Shalev

Dying Professors in Film and Television: How the Media Make Illness a Moral Issue
Lisa Roney

Section Four:  Suffering
Frances Burney and the Empowering Patient Perspective
Maria Vaccarella

Entering the Wound
Michael Miles

The Liminal Identity of Physician-Spouse-Caregiver in Severe Chronic Illness
George R. Simms

Coda: The Patience of the Patient
Harold Schweizer

The Editor

Kimberly R. Myers is an Associate Professor of Humanities at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine and Associate Professor of English at Penn State University. Her recent books include Illness in the Academy: A Collection of Pathographies by Academics (Purdue University Press, 2007) and, co-edited with Harold Schweizer, The Patient (Bucknell University Press, 2009).

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