Essay on Sociology of Medicine

Health care is a very important topic of concern for Americans today.Ā  What care is to be provided, to whom, as well as who will fund it, is the topic of constant debate. What is not always highlighted is how these decisions affect the individuals experiencing illness and seeking care. An inquire into the situation, resulted in interviews with patients with Chronic Illnesses. I will discuss the responses to interviews of these patients, in the context of how they have been affected socially, how their illnesses have affected them financially and how they have been discriminated against because of their illness.

Chronic illness has more of a social effect on the individuals/patients than may be realized by most. Some of the chronically diseased do not socialize at all. Individuals with chronic illnesses find themselves embracing society and the concept of the “sick role”¯. ”¯The sick role refers to social expectations regarding how society should view sick people and how sick people should behave.”¯(Weitz, Pg.115) It may sometimes be due to the problem of the limitations of their previous lifestyle. Subject #1, of Evan Robles interviewees, stated “his disease affected him socially because it limited him from going places.Ā  He stated he could not go out of town, due to he may miss treatments. Interviewee #1 of Pamela’s transcription stated “Of course, rheumatoid arthritis has affected me socially; I do not have the opportunity to participate in social events. I lost my job because it is too difficult for me to perform my duties as a cook.”¯Ā  Interviewee #2 of Laureen’s patients stated while laughing,”¯My life consists of work and drinking wine (laughs again)! I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t hold my wine glass! I try to make light of it because it beats sulking, but to be completely serious, my life has been affected by rheumatoid arthritis.Ā  According to the author Rose Weitz, from a sociological perspective, illness is a social construction, something that exists in the world not as an objective condition but because we have defined it as existing. (Weitz, Pg.105). Evan Robles’s Subject #1 and Pamela’s Interviewee #1 responses reflect how their illnesses have been socially constructed. Chronic diseases have considerable social impact because often individuals like Pamela’s Interviewee #1 lose their jobs and sometimes cannot take an active part in social life. The social life of individuals with chronic diseases is definitely different compared to other individuals. Their chronic diseases impose substantial limitations on their social life.Ā  These individuals are experiencing

chronically, what Rose Weitz describes as illness, “referring to the social experience and consequences of living with a disease”¯. (Weitz, pg.19).

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