Integration of rhetoric on health and medicine provides a platform for scholars and students to explore the different schools of thought that contribute to the practice of modern medicine. Additionally, health researchers use rhetoric to understand the various resource backgrounds which enables them to share knowledge and experience in the shifting landscape of health and medicine. It is understood that the healthcare industry loses billions of money in cases where patients are negligent of the instructions and advices given by their doctors leading to high rates of non-compliance. In the recent past, scholars in the medical and health fields have been exploring the use of rhetoric in medical literature to analyze and understand the doctor-patient collaboration and agreement in a bid to improve the adherence of doctor recommended treatments.
According to Derkatch and Segal in the article “Realms of Rhetoric in Health and Medicine” the awareness of rhetorical principles in health and medicine benefits, medical practitioners as it opens up varied perspectives to the existing human interaction problems (138). In addition, it creates an element of persuasion needed in diagnosing patients without observable symptoms. Moreover, medical experts may apply rhetoric as a way of sensitizing individuals to adhere to diets, courses of treatment and regular body exercise. The use of rhetorical criticism assists to understand human action with rhetorical theory enabling the physician to capture explanations given by their patients. Every day, the use of medical texts deliver and structure information in a form that is understandable, however, through rhetoric deeper understanding into the intended practice guidelines or evidence based research is sought to ensure that continued changes affect the proper administration of health and medical practices.
The problem of patient non-compliance according to Segal in her article “The Rhetoric of Medicine” is demonstrated in how patients respond when; filling prescriptions, how they take their medication and whether they take the medication correctly (134). Rhetorical principles are mostly involved in health and medicine to understand communalism of health problems as well as identify the rhetoric motives behind an existing cause-effect relationship. Medical genre exhibited in doctor-patient interviews in consultation rooms apply rhetoric in order to be interactive, dynamic and dialogic in a manner that captures the narrative analysis of the patient’s attitude, beliefs, ideals, priorities, knowledge and motives. Moreover, it brings into understanding the various approaches adopted by practitioners and patients and used as filters or screens that reflect the state of health, illness and disease. Medical metaphors and models primarily give an understanding to the discourses of health and medicine in creating relationships and intersections within health and medicine.
Ann Koerber in her article “From Folklore to Fact: The Rhetorical History of Breastfeeding and Immunity, 1950-1997” makes an observation into the health issue regarding human milk and its potency to afford humans immune protection. While the setup of her paper revolves around 1950s and 1970s, she uses a rhetorical approach to the complex-systems, medical metaphors create an understanding of how the immune system emerges and the existing scientific facts that support breastfeeding to contribute to high immunity among individuals. Human milk is established to contain antibodies that enhance the immunity of an individual. She concludes by stating that breastfed children have a higher immunology compared to bottle-fed babies this is because through breast feeding, a mother transfers immunity to the child in her milk protecting the child from childhood diseases like diarrhoea, , otitis media, bacteraemia, urinary tract infections and other adult diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes, Crohn’s disease, allergies and chronic diseases.
Ann, Koerber“From Folklore to Fact: The Rhetorical History of Breastfeeding and Immunity, 1950-1997” J Med Humanit Vol 27: 151-166. 2006. Press.
Derkatch, Colleen & Segal,Judy. “Realms of Rhetoric in Health and Medicine” University of Toronto Medical Journal.Vol 82, Iss 2. 2005. Print.
Segal, Judy. “The Rhetoric of Medicine” Southern Illinois University Press. 2000. Print.