Document Detail

Patient activism and the struggle for diagnosis: Gulf War illnesses and other medically unexplained physical symptoms in the US.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14572929     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We examine Gulf War illnesses--which include the fatigue, joint pain, dermatitis, headaches, memory loss, blurred vision, diarrhea, and other symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans--in relation to other medically unexplained physical symptoms such as multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Our intent is to examine the diagnosis negotiations involved in these mysterious diseases, by showing the different forms of legitimacy involved in such interactions. Factors involved in diagnostic legitimacy are: diagnostic legitimacy in the medical community, lay acceptance of the diagnosis, uncertainty in looking for causes, and social mobilization. We conclude by noting that research may not be able to find any cause for these diseases/conditions; hence, it may be necessary to embrace medical uncertainty, and also to accept patient experience in order to facilitate diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process. Such a change can alter patients' expectations and taken-for-granted assumptions about medicine, and perhaps in turn reduce the frequency with which dissatisfied individuals form illness groups that mobilize to challenge what they see as an unresponsive medical system.
Stephen Zavestoski; Phil Brown; Sabrina McCormick; Brian Mayer; Maryhelen D'Ottavi; Jaime C Lucove
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  58     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2004 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-10-23     Completed Date:  2004-03-04     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  161-75     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Sociology, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude of Health Personnel
Diagnosis, Differential
Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis,  psychology
Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
Government Agencies
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / diagnosis
Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
Patient Advocacy*
Persian Gulf Syndrome / diagnosis*,  psychology
Professional-Patient Relations*
Research Personnel
Sociology, Medical
United States
Veterans / psychology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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