Document Detail

Traumatic amputation: a case of Laotian indignation and injustice.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18561003     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Culture is an essential variable of diagnosis and treatment. A cultural perspective draws attention to the social context within which symptoms arise, are given meaning, and are managed. Ethno-cultural work on illness narratives suggests that most people can provide culturally-based explanations for their symptoms. While these explanations are inconsistent with biomedical theory, they relieve patient distress by allowing the patient to create meaning for symptoms. Exploring the characteristics, context, and antecedents of the symptoms enables the patient to convey them to the clinician who may have a divergent explanation of sickness. This case study uses the Outline for Cultural Formulation of the DSM-IV created for clinicians to elicit a narrative account of the illness experience from the patient. Our study examines how the patient, a Laotian used social indignation ("Kwam khem keuang") as an explanatory model for his ailment. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after having undergone a traumatic amputation. In the process of explaining his illness through a cultural idiom, the patient was able to reveal both personal and collective meaning of repressed anger and frustration, expressing them in a context that was acceptable to him. This cultural idiom allowed the patient to reflect upon the structure of the health care system and the specific context in which symptoms and their possible origins are recounted and explored. It also clarified to the treating clinicians some categories of experience and causal explanations that did not fit easily with western biomedical and psychiatric understanding. The case study illustrates how a cultural approach to illness from the patient's perspective offers a reflexive stance on the clinician-patient interaction that allows for better patient care.
Nathalie M H Dinh; Danielle Groleau
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Culture, medicine and psychiatry     Volume:  32     ISSN:  0165-005X     ISO Abbreviation:  Cult Med Psychiatry     Publication Date:  2008 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-07-11     Completed Date:  2008-11-18     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7707467     Medline TA:  Cult Med Psychiatry     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  440-57     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Amputation, Traumatic / psychology*
Laos / ethnology
Middle Aged
Physical Therapy Modalities
Physician-Patient Relations
Social Justice*
Social Support
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis,  psychology*

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