The patient's view

Soc Sci Med. 1984;18(9):737-44. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(84)90099-6.


Deference to the importance of the patient's view has recently become a major feature of much medical practice and social science research. This paper, however, argues that attempts to establish the authentic version of what the patient says is misplaced as investigation can only reveal what is heard, not what is said. The changes in perception which enable some things to be heard, and not others, are traced through medicine and the social sciences during the last 50 years and it is suggested that recent interest in the validity of the patient's view are no more than artefacts of these changes in perception.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • Patients*
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations*