These lectures address diverse topics within bioethics and the medical humanities. Speakers are MH&B faculty or special guests we've invited to present. The lectures run every Thursday from noon to 12:45pm in the Searle Seminar Room in the Lurie building, during The Graduate School's fall, winter, and spring quarters. Due to public interest, we've made these lectures open to all, inside and outside the Northwestern community. Please feel free to bring a lunch.
Megan Crowley-Matoka, PhD
Medical Humanities & Bioethics
When the Medical Gaze Averts Its Eyes:
Living Organ Donors as Non-Patients
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The classic ethical underpinnings of living organ donation require that living donors be healthy people who have freely chosen to give up part of their own bodies for the benefit of another person. Intended to be protective, this conception of living donors also sets them apart from the traditional role of the patient – a role to which the transplant recipient can always more compellingly lay claim. This talk draws on ethnographic research with living kidney and liver donors to explore the consequential ways in which living donors may be perceived – and, critically, may perceive themselves – as “non-patients.” Beyond implications for the ethics and practice of transplantation itself, I suggest attending seriously to this dimension of the living donation experience also opens up a set of larger questions about the shifting status of “patient-hood” in American biomedicine.
When the Medical Gaze Never Wavers:
Organ Transplant Recipients as Perpetual Patients
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Popular representations of organ transplantation often focus on the challenges of getting a transplant, given the always-insufficient supply of organs to meet demand. Less commonly-explored are the challenges of receiving a transplant – and of living with one over time. This talk draws on ethnographic research with kidney transplant recipients in Mexico to examine what they often experience as a troublingly persistent “patient-hood.” Exploring this inability of transplanted people to shed the status of patient in concert with the prior talk’s discussion of living donors unable to claim that status provides fodder for reconsidering contemporary changes in the push and pull of medicalization.