Passage Through Crisis: Polio Victims and Their Families

1st Edition

Fred Davis

Published October 31, 1990
Reference - 218 Pages
ISBN 9780887388538 - CAT# Y333410

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Based on a study of fourteen families in which a child had contracted paralytic poliomyelitis. Passage Through Crisis: Polio Victims and Their Families, first published in 1963, was widely praised for its penetrating--and, for its time, innovative--analyses of doctor-patient communications, and for its interpreta-tion of the meaning of physical disability in American society. In his new opening essay, Davis reflects on the enduring sources of this profound problem in human relations as well as on those changes in the culture of American health care that are helping to restructure doctor-patient relations along more open, less authoritarian lines. The emergence of patient self-help groups, the political militancy of the Gay community in regard to AIDS, and the fading of the early post-World War II naive faith in the humanitarian efficacy of science are some of the developments dealt with. A parallel discussion of the importation into medical sociology of such concepts as the reality-structuring power of professional discourse and of the meta-phoric significance of different diseases for different historical eras seeks to relate developments in the culture of health care to sociology's study. Passage Through Crisis retains for today's readers that essential quality that most engaged readers of a quarter century ago: its vivid and probing ethno-graphic account of the impact of serious illness on the family, the difficult processes of adjustment that ensue and, in these connections, the role played (and toll exacted) by American values.


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