From loss to repair. A study of body narratives in patient claims for medical injury

Abstract : In this article we examine the body's status in the complaints that patients filed with a compensation agency. Taking a corpus of letters, we analyse the way in which the patients mobilise their bodily experience from the angle of the damage for which they demand compensation. To this end, we articulate an approach in terms of the sociology of complaint with an approach rooted in the sociology of medicine, health and illness. To analyse the body narratives, we use the notion of loss. We highlight the manner in which patients approach their losses as 'losses in practice'. These losses are defined by the patients putting forward the concrete experience of a body harmed by the treatment received, and by their formulation of expectations in terms of compensation. We therefore identify four ways in which the reality of the damaged body is given a form in terms of expectations of repair: the 'body-producer', the 'body-ecological', the 'body-help' and the 'body-self-image'. Our analysis adds to studies on the status of the body in care and in complaint by showing: the specific influence of the enunciative situation, the plurality of patient evaluations and their temporal dynamic.
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Myriam Winance, Janine Barbot, Isabelle Parizot. From loss to repair. A study of body narratives in patient claims for medical injury. Sociology of Health and Illness, Wiley, 2018, 40 (1), pp.53-66. ⟨10.1111/1467-9566.12620⟩. ⟨hal-01803697⟩

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