Acting in Anaesthesia: Ethnographic Encounters with by Dawn Goodwin

By Dawn Goodwin

In recent times, evidence-based medication (EBM), medical governance responsibility became more and more major in shaping the association and supply of healthcare. even if, those notions all construct upon and exemplify the belief of human-centred, person motion. during this booklet, sunrise Goodwin means that such versions of perform exaggerate the level to which practitioners may be able to expect and regulate the situations and contingencies of healthcare. Drawing on ethnographic fabric, Goodwin explores the way in which that 'action' unfolds in a sequence of empirical situations of anaesthetic and extensive care perform. Anaesthesia configures a dating among people, machines and units that transforms and redistributes capacities for motion and thereby demanding situations the determine of a rational, intentional, performing person. This ebook elucidates the ways that a number of entities (machines, instruments, units and subconscious sufferers in addition to healthcare practitioners) take part, and the way activities develop into valid and liable.

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Extra resources for Acting in Anaesthesia: Ethnographic Encounters with Patients, Practitioners and Medical Technologies (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives)

Sample text

Somewhat paradoxically, then, allowing the practitioners some discretion in how they articulate the demands of the guideline seems to be the only way to achieve standardisation: Tinkering, having the leeway to adjust the protocol to unforeseen events and repair unworkable prescriptions is a prerequisite for the protocol’s functioning: in these practices, the overall stability of the network is at the same time challenged and dependent upon the instabilities within its configuration. (Timmermans and Berg, 2007: 293)3 Suchman (2007: 200) elaborates this point in respect of the general nature of plans: ‘it is the inherent underspecification of the formal plan that affords the space of action needed for its realization’.

Therefore, much has changed in anaesthetic practice since the Victorian period, and the anaesthetised patient, I suggest, is no longer quite silent. Rather than being disabled, the anaesthetised patient’s ability to communicate is transformed, as is the language and matter that can be conveyed. The technological augmentation of the body engenders different forms of expression, which in some ways compensate for the loss of language. Therefore, unlike the situation of the Victorian physicians described by Poovey, in my observation of recent anaesthetic practice, the anaesthetists could not impose just any explanation on a given situation; the interpretation had to ‘fit’ with what the patient expressed.

Finally, I look at the dissolution of the cyborg in the ‘recovery’ phase, how this is achieved, and the work that is necessary to re-establish the human and to shed the technological. Fashioning Anaesthesia’s Cyborgs The anaesthetic room is a small anteroom attached to the operating theatre specifically for the purpose of inducing anaesthesia. 20 am, the first patient on the operating list has just arrived in the anaesthetic room and the ODP and the consultant anaesthetist (in the United Kingdom, anaesthetists are medically qualified doctors.

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