Sample Essays on Medicine’s Participation in Social Hierarchies

Medicine’s Participation in the Social Hierarchies of its Culture

It has been a notion in most individuals in the society that doctors are inherently powerful. They have the authority of commanding and determining the destiny of most individuals, especially when they fall sick. As Brody argues in his book The Healer’s Power, there is a need for medical ethicists to cease applying the principle of autonomy to erode away at the psychiatrists’ power. To the contrary, the ethics professionals should guide physicians to understand better and apply their charismatic, Aesculapian, as well as social powers. The paper explores how medicine participates in the social hierarchies of its culture thereby harming both doctors and patients.

The physician’s power is made up of several elements that need to be aligned in a systematic way to so as to promote an ethical Medicare environment. Medicine offers physicians an Aesculapian power, an authority that they possess just by enrolling and training in the art of medicine. Brody argues that the Chief of Medicine was a highly respected individual in the hospital being an endocrinologist of diagnostic skill as well as laboratory research (3). The chief of medicine further possessed body obscure knowledge, sufficient practical skills, and experience of over 40 years. With such power, the chief of medicine could command many stakeholders in the hospital. However, what matters most is the way he exercised his authority. The chief of medicine argues that he learned his way of doing things from another physician long ago. This clearly indicates that medicine contains a culture that delegates powers to physicians.

Physicians’ personal attributes further offer them a charismatic power that has made them lead a high social rank in the society. A physician who is undergone the required training is usually courageous, firm, decisive, and kind among others. All these qualities offer them power over other individuals in the society. Of all, social power that is obtained the social status of physicians in the society is of great significance. The physicians have the authority to rule over the sick individuals by making the correct judgments. The physician’s word in such circumstances is of great influence as it propels motion of various social practices as well as roles. A physician who lies in a low socio-economic level still possesses the aspect of social power.

The traditional medicine culture whereby young physicians struggle to tell elderly patients about their poor health status is gradually fading away. The current Western medicine entrusts the cultural power that defines the medical knowledge and truth. For instance, when physicians from higher socio-economic classes mix due to the rise in rank, the physicians are likely to be prominent in handling low socio-economic level clients. According to Brody, the Grand Inquisitor is ready and prepared to grant the theological misappropriations of the church whereas the Chief of Medicine dismisses the medical student’s Aesculapian power. As per him, a physician’s healing power lies in their social and charismatic powers. He further asserts that the powers have the ability of healing even through a self-healing mechanism.

Medicine has been successful over the past centuries as a result of the skillful application of social and charismatic powers with minimal application of Aesculapian power. Currently, the combination of the two powers can be depicted to work efficiently. For instance, when several patients do not contain a diagnostic disease. Some physicians are victims of basic insecurity. For instance, Brody argues that the Chief of Medicine was convinced that if the public knew of his deficiencies in Aesculapian power, he would lose his social and charismatic powers (“Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care”). Therefore as a strategy to protect one’s interest, some physicians end up misusing their powers a fact that harms patients or even them.

As demonstrated by Davisson, Clark, Powers, and Hobbs, the use of power occurs concurrently with its misuse (48). To some extent power tends to corrupt individuals. For instance, due to social power that physicians contain, they can subject a patient to undergo unnecessary testing and procedures with intent of obtaining the fee for such services. Due to respect and gear, patients will unquestionably engage in such processes. The misuse of power highly contributes to social inequalities. It is obvious that most of the individuals in the society are civilized; however, the influences of culture alongside the society propel us into such misappropriations. The society further highly depends on physicians more so when they are sick. As a result, most individuals are convinced that the physicians have great powers of which they are benevolent in use.

Also, medication tends to consider males to be of a higher social rank to women. The men physicians are thereby empowered in carrying out procedures more than the female physicians. The males have social power that they have obtained as a result of various beliefs in the society. In the ancient period, there were very few women professionals in the art of medicine. Many individuals in the society believed that medicine was a male field thereby was not interested in attaining the required knowledge to become a physician. Therefore, medicine tended to consider men to be in a higher social hierarchy than women (Davisson, Clark, Powers, and Hobbs 24). In the recent days, gender balance is highly emphasized by most states in various departments. However, some individuals still hold a notion that in the art of medicine, men are superior to women (Abbott, Baldridge, Koh, and Richards). The gender imbalance in medicine is closely supported by various cultural practices. For instance, there are some communities that are not comfortable when a woman physician is handling an elderly man. As a result of such cultural beliefs, medicine has developed a social hierarchy of its culture that to some extent undermine growth in the industry.

The views of race and healthy in general have also highly impacted the physician powers by having an influence in the social hierarchy of physicians. The society is composed of people with different views and beliefs. Various groups have their own viewpoints on the issue of Medicare. Some of the views of various groups increase the powers of physicians thereby making them hold a high social rank. Initially, most communities never recognized the significance of medicine in the society. Some individuals could not even seek the care of a physician whenever they fall sick. They could instead rely on the traditional herbs and techniques of curing diseases. Such groups highly undermined the powers of physicians in the society. As opposed to the current social hierarchy, the physicians were not of much importance in the society (“Health Is Still Social: Contemporary Examples in the Age of the Genome”). Therefore, this is a clear indication that the views of various individuals in the society determine the social power of physicians.

It is normal for mistakes to happen in any given activity but physicians should utilize the power they hold as a result of studying the art of medicine as well as experience to avoid such circumstances. Besides, the traditional culture whereby physicians used to use charismatic power and social power to hide the deficiencies of their Aesculapian power should be avoided. The modern medicine needs to adopt various strategies that physicians should apply in handling patients. Transparency should be emphasized in carrying out medical procedures. Also, physicians should be closely monitored by the relevant bodies so that to ensure that they use their powers appropriately (“Medical Ethics in Peace and the Armed Conflict”). The members of the society should also be sensitized on the roles of physicians so as gradually reduce the social power they hold that can be easily be misused.

Medical ethics highly relies on power and its responsible use. Physicians have a lot of powers which if not well used, they can easily harm patients or even themselves. The powers have highly influenced the social hierarchy of medicine culture in the society. The medicine culture is wide spread in the society whereby physicians are considered to be powerful individuals with the ability to save someone’s life. It’s a fact that physicians are significant individuals in the society. However, they need to act within the acceptable ethical standards that do not in any way harm a patient. The tendency of using charismatic and social powers to cover up the deficiency of their Aesculapian abilities should stop. Upon considering how powers of physicians are obtained as well as used in various circumstances, it’s clear that medicine participates in its social hierarchies through people’s viewpoints, cultural beliefs, and power manifestation.

Works Cited

Abbott, Ernest B., Peter Baldridge, Howard Koh, and Edward P. Richards. “Seizure of Private Property: Powers and Protections.” The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 35 (2007): 77-78. Print.

Brody, Howard. The Healer’s Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992. Print.

Davisson, Laura, Karen Clark, Roxann Powers, and Gerald Hobbs. “The Rectovaginal Examination: Physician Attitudes and Practice Patterns.” Southern Medical Journal99.3 (2006): 212-215. Print.

“Health Is Still Social: Contemporary Examples in the Age of the Genome.” PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

“Medical Ethics in Peace and the Armed Conflict.” Schweizerische Akademie Für Medizin & Ethik. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

“Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care.” Choice Reviews Online 40.10 (2003): 40-5843-40-5843. Print.