Healthcare Anecdotes and the Medically Anecdotal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Medicine teems with anecdotes, brief, pointed accounts of healthcare episodes, informed by observations and narrative arguments. Initially denoting hitherto undivulged, but notable, historical events, anecdotes narrated by doctors were not easily distinguishable from clinical cases. Those recounted by patients and carers in the modern era are the subject of this chapter, which investigates how they grasp, size up, and characterize human vulnerabilities, resulting from illness and inequalities in healthcare knowledge and power. An unregulated and anti-authoritarian idiom that does not seek to isolate events and experiences from subjective thoughts and feelings about them, these sorts of anecdotes can critically evaluate medical services and glimpse the truth about healthcare situations. Contemporary medicine, however, views anecdotal observations and viewpoints as biased and untrustworthy. Despite the current climate of scepticism concerning anecdotal information, anecdotes remain prolific oral and literary interventions, that provide vital insights into the interpersonal and social relations of healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Medicine
EditorsAnna M. Elsner, Monika Pietrzak-Franger
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781009300070
ISBN (Print)9781009300063, 9781009300117
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2024


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