Acting in Anaesthesia: Ethnographic Encounters with Patients, Practitioners and Medical Technologies

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 16, 2009 - Social Science - 187 pages
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In recent years, evidence-based medicine (EBM), clinical governance and professional accountability have become increasingly significant in shaping the organisation and delivery of healthcare. However, these notions all build upon and exemplify the idea of human-centred, individual action. In this book, Dawn Goodwin suggests that such models of practice exaggerate the extent to which practitioners are able to predict and control the circumstances and contingencies of healthcare. Drawing on ethnographic material, Goodwin explores the way that 'action' unfolds in a series of empirical cases of anaesthetic and intensive care practice. Anaesthesia configures a relationship between humans, machines and devices that transforms and redistributes capacities for action and thereby challenges the figure of a rational, intentional, acting individual. This book elucidates the ways in which various entities (machines, tools, devices and unconscious patients as well as healthcare practitioners) participate, and how actions become legitimate and accountable.

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About the author (2009)

Dawn Goodwin is a social science lecturer in medical education and director of problem-based learning and teaches courses on various aspects of science, technology and medicine to both medical and social science students. Her current research interests focus on the development of embodied knowledge, its place in clinical practice and the processes of learning involved. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research centred on the notions of participation and accountability in healthcare practice. Along with colleagues Dr Buscher and Dr Mesman, Dawn Goodwin is currently editing a book of ethnographic studies of diagnostic work drawn from a range of disciplines.

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