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The Logic of Care: Health and the Problem of Patient Choice

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Intelligent and humane critique on contemporary approaches in medical practice and public health

By Philippe Vandenbroeck - December 26, 2011

The ideal of individual choice has lately been enthusiastically embraced in health care as it tries to provide a counterweight to the overbearing paternalism that has characterized patient-professional relationships for so long. Furthermore, patient choice fits well with the drive towards market-based reforms to increase efficiency and competition and hence reduce the demands of a costly service system on cash-strapped governments.

Annemarie Mol's `The Logic of Care' is a wonderfully perceptive book that sensitively deconstructs the mantra of patient choice in contemporary health care. In criticizing the maxim of choice, Mol steers clear of a familiar argument that denies patients the emotional and cognitive abilities to make correct assessments about life or death questions. Rather than focusing on patients' abilities, Mol shows that people in care practices do not primarily figure as subjects of choice but as subjects of a much more nuanced meshwork of activities and... read more

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