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Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine

Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine

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Assessing rhetorical principles of contemporary health issues Hypochondriacs are vulnerable to media hype, anorexics are susceptible to public scrutiny, and mi­graine sufferers are tainted with the history of the “migraine personality,” maintains rhetoricl theorist Judy Z. Segal. All are influenced by the power of per­suasion. Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine explores per­sistent health conditions that resist conventional medical solutions. Using a range of rhetorical prin­ciples, Segal analyzes how paients and their illnesses are formed within the physician/patient relationship. The intractable problem of a patient’s rejection of a doctor’s advice, says Segal, can be considered a rhe­torical failure—a failure of persuasion. Examining the discourse of edicine through case studies, applications, and analyses, Segal illus­trates how illnesses are described in ways that limitpatients’ choices and satisfaction. She also illuminates psychiatric conditions, infectious diseases, genetic testing, and cosmetic urgeries through the lens of rhetorical theory. Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine bridges criti­cal analysis for scholarly, professional, and lay audi­ences. Segal highlights the persuasive element in di­agnosis, health policy, illness experience, and ilness narratives. She also addresses questions of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, the role of health information in creating the “worried well” and problems of trust and expertise in physician/patient relationships. A useful resourcefor critical common sense in everyday life, the text provides an effective examination of a society increasingly influ­enced by the rhetoric of health and medicine.