It seems like Italians suffer from the same syndrome as Buridan’s donkey, at least when it comes to thinking about health.
Indeed, our research data clearly shows that interviewees want two things from those responsible for their health: scientific and technological advances resulting from continual research and experimentation on the one hand, and humane treatment, a personal relationship and individual attention on the other. So, you say, what’s so strange about that? Shouldn’t combining the two be right at the heart of modern medicine?! I completely agree, but it seems that for the “public” it is not so easy to reconcile these two aspects. Scientific research and technology are seen as “dehumanising”, capable of turning patients into little more than guinea pigs. The human relationship seems to be perceived as born from values and sentiments that run contrary to cold, clinical science. There is therefore a risk of confused expectations regarding health institutions (e.g. hospitals, but also individual “professionals”). In the end, contrasts are made, for example, between public and private, where the private guarantees more humane treatment and individual attention (when paid for), while the public offers more machinery and technical competence at the expense of a disregard for patients.
So, we can see how in the characteristics of healthcare professionals and institutions these two sides continually reappear, in hope of finding a synthesis: for example, private rooms in public hospitals or the great luminary who is still “ever so kind”. And we also see that both people’s searches for information and word-of-mouth in this sector always contain references to both of these aspects.
In your opinion, is the same thing happening in the English-speaking world?