On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication

Nguyen, Huong Thi Linh and Austin, Gavin (2018) On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 8 (7). pp. 713-725. ISSN 1799-2591

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This study is concerned with the practice of invoking third parties among doctors and patients in Vietnamese medical consultations. These third parties are relatives of the patient who are also medical professionals. We show that doctors invoke relatives-plus-medical professionals in order to elicit information from patients, while patients adopt this practice in order to circumvent a troublesome administrative requirement; obtain a preferred form of treatment; receive a health-related service from the hospital, while also diminishing accountability for making this request in case it turns out to be irregular; give reasons for selecting the current hospital; or challenge the doctor’s expertise. Another possible motive is to receive special attention from the treating doctor. We suggest that doctors and patients are particularly inclined to invoke relatives-plus-medical professionals as third parties because of two social forces within Vietnamese culture: collectivism and social status. We also adduce evidence that, as a determinant of the patient’s future treatment for their problem, their familial relationship with the third party overrides this person’s status as a medical professional in this cultural context. More broadly, our findings indicate that medical communication is not invariant across cultures, but can be shaped by culture-specific forces.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Open access journal.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2018 04:01
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2019 02:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: medical communication, third parties, cultural context, Vietnam, conversation analysis
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2099 Other Language, Communication and Culture > 209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.17507/tpls.0807.01
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/34439

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