“Doctor vs. patient”

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The physician-patient-relationship and the process of decision making are widely dealt with in linguistics and medical ethics. However, there is little knowledge on how the physician-patient-relationship is initially established and which roles doctor and patient are adopting in it. To close this gap, this paper uses videotaped interactions between third year medical students and standardized simulated patients, covering information and treatment decisions following a diagnosis of high blood pressure as empirical bases. In addition to the conversation-analytical approach, the medical-ethic typology of relationship-construction is applied in the analysis. The analysis shows that a global relationship-model for a whole conversation does not work for the interactive process of decision making. In addition to furnishing insights about the communicative course of decision making, this paper aims to strengthen linguistic research on medical decision making and to aspire to a stronger cooperation between medical ethics and linguistics.


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