Views And Reviews

The ghost in the machine

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 16 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:206
  1. C Douglas

    When I was being taught medicine in the 1960s the bit I found most interesting was learning how medicine worked. Of course we were not formally taught the anthropology of the profession we were being groomed to join, but after a year away from it all - spent on VSO in a dusty, multi- tribed market town in the heart of West Africa - I returned feeling reasonably equipped to decipher the habits of the tribe for myself.

    I made a curious and useful discovery: many of the doctors I observed then, certainly the vast majority of the most senior specimens, behaved quite often as though they …

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