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University of South Carolina

Publication Date

Fall 2022

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Medical humanities research is an increasingly important field of study for medical care. Power dynamics that exist between doctor and patient during the clinical encounter are an integral factor for improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction with their clinician. This research study sought to determine the power dynamics that exist within the patient-doctor relationship in Switzerland and other bio-medicalized countries with similar patient-provider experiences through a historical and sociocultural lens. Four interviews were conducted alongside preliminary research, and the power dynamics identified through this study were social, economic, knowledge-based, and communication. Historical human philosophies about the universe, the role of God, humanity, health, sickness, and death and societal norms of misogyny were cemented into the foundations of modern medicine and remain interwoven into clinical encounters today, causing friction in a world trying to move towards more equality both in and out of patient-centered care. The results of this sociological approach to understanding the challenges to positive intrapersonal relationships in the clinical encounter support the need for more holistic, culturally competent, and compassionate healthcare.


Family, Life Course, and Society | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Medicine and Health


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