Sunday, 29 November 2009

Medical mistake

Medical mistake
Originally uploaded by Lobke van Aar
What does this image mean to you?


  1. e the 'patient' is being gagged by the medical person...what do you think?

  2. There's weirder places to be auscultated! After my stroke, the neurologist auscultated my eyeball - "Listening for bruits", he said, just before saying - "Might as well give it to you, I never use a stethoscope..."

  3. The cartoon brings out the profession's tendency to see every problem through formal medical perspective . Many a time a humanistic approach of being a good listener without the interjection of symbolic stethoscope may be a better option than this mechanistic clinical approach!

  4. a physician who doesn't want to get too involved, physically or emotionally

  5. Kia ora e Anne!

    There are a number of messages that this cartoon brings to mind by connotation.

    There is the assumption that 'the doctor' is male and that 'the patient' is female. Though this gender option chosen by the cartoonist may have been arbitrary, the connotation is there nevertheless that the doctor-patient situation has the potential to involve sexist imposition. The blonde accentuates this effect.

    Though the patient is undoubtedly free to walk away, she seems trapped by the confines of her stool, almost as if she is being backed into a corner. But there is no corner. It connotes that the patient has no choice but to accept whatever treatment is offered and it is not palatable.

    The dress of the characters are stereotypical: clinical, technical, cold doctor / down-to-earth, almost student-like, scarfed-health-concerned patient.

    Then there is the body language. The doctor appears almost blind (eyes shut or not visible) to the concerns of the patient. The patient seems as if handcuffed, and stunned (eyes drooping, near closed) by the treatment. As well, it seems to be a one-way process, that of the doctor administering treatment through technology and manual force. The tall slanting posture of the doctor accentuates the imposing nature of the administering of treatment. This is reflected in the shrinking (almost foetal) posture of the diminutive patient.

    So as you can see, there is a lot more that can be read from this otherwise simple cartoon.

    Want any more?

    Catchya later

  6. I think it is about silencing the patient. The detached air- not making eye contact, hand in pocket, suggest that this may be inadvertent. The doctor just isn't looking at what he is doing, and the patient is horrified in return. Hence the artist has titled it 'medical mistake'. But I don't know if I am right!
    The patient look svery powerless but hopefully she will grab that stethoscope soon. Maybe she will forgive her doctor for his inattentiona nd absent-mindedness. Maybe she will complain. Maybe she will see another doctor.

  7. Medical mistakes amount to crimes. NHS negligence claims are currently higher than they have ever been and are rumored to be costing the tax payer £4.4 Billion each year and this figure is likely to continue to increase unless radical changes are made to the healthcare system in the UK. Statistics published by the British Medical Journal calculate that one in ten patients admitted to NHS hospitals will fall victim to medical injury, which have now become Britains fourth biggest killer. These errors include missed diagnoses, slip-ups during operations, failure to identify the risks of procedures and poor or inadequate treatment. Although many people believe that the increase in litigation against the NHS is due to the alleged compensation culture sweeping the nation; research shows that out of the approximate 800,000 adverse clinical events that are recorded by the NHS each year, only 1% of the victims make a claim. For more information visit Clinical Negligence .


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