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To Fix or to HealPatient Care, Public Health, and the Limits of Biomedicine$
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Joseph E. Davis and Ana Marta Gonzalez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479878246

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479878246.001.0001

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Reductionism, Holism, and Consumerism

Reductionism, Holism, and Consumerism

The Patient in Contemporary Medicine

(p.110) 4 Reductionism, Holism, and Consumerism
To Fix or to Heal

Robert Dingwall

NYU Press

This chapter examines the historical shift from the welfarist provision of health care by collective action to a consumerist form of provision that treats health care as a matter of individual judgments. Reductionist medicine is a natural fit for a consumerist approach, given its apparent indifference to the moral causes or collective implications of individual problems. However, since the problems of dependency cannot be eliminated, only relocated, the moral and collective dimensions of medicine are inescapable. While any measure of burden sharing remains, so will the function of adjudicating claims. A socially sustainable health care system must incorporate an understanding of mutual obligation: both our responsibility for the physical and social conditions of the sick, and their commitment to change those things within their power.

Keywords:   consumer medicine, consumerism, sick role, Talcott Parsons, health care systems, National Health Service, Doctor-patient relationship

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