The ghost in the machineBMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6948.206 (Published 16 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:206
- 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 …