Essay Medical Sociology

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Medical Sociology


That the medical field is facing very difficult challenges, some of which are old and many which are new, is nothing new to the public. Issues such as the lack of health care coverage for everyone, the high cost of medical care and the growing distance between health care professionals and patients are only few highlights of this crisis. What is different about our current crisis is the approach that is taken in order to solve these problems. Present discussion of the health care crisis centers around economic and political issues, and moreover, many health care workers and sociologists are concerned that such a discussion has shifted the emphasis away from the people in the system--the patients and the medical staff. In response, sociologists are calling for the integration, or as some would prefer a re-integration, of medical sociology.

Late in the nineteenth century, medical sociology had begun to establish itself as a credible and important voice; however, with the coming of Abraham Flexner's report, "medical education became highly technological, with little room for teaching about medicine's ultimate social role" which must take into consideration the actual people involved (Roemer, 1986, p. 153). While medical sociology has continued to express itself in the more technological context, it has not been acknowledged as a qualified approach to solving the medical crisis--until lately.

The need for the re-integration of medical sociology is based on the observations that current approaches, attitudes, and values are not completely applicable to our changing society. The sociology of medicine allows for the study of the origins, evolution and laws of the medical profession with resp...

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Hastings (1996, November-December.) The goals of medicine: setting new priorities. The Hastings Center Report, vol.26, n.6, pp. S3-S25.

Heron, N. L. & Zabel, D., Eds. (1995). Bridging the Gap: Examining Polarity in America. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited.

Hockenstad, M. C., Ed. (1982). Linking Health Care and Social Services: International Pespectives. Beverly Hills: SAGE Publications.

Raeburn, P. (1997, July 14). "Saving lives doesn't have to cost a bundle." Business Week, n. 3535. pg. 29.

Remennick, L. I. (1998, January) "The cancer problem in the context of modernity: sociology, demography and politics." Current Sociology, vol. 46, n.1, p. 1-144.

Roemer, M. (1986). An Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System, 2nd Ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Turner, B. (1987). Medical Power and Social Knowledge. London: SAGE Publications.

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