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Opening up shrinking life-worlds

Lives change dramatically as dementia progresses. Using observations of people suffering from obsessions and compulsions, I will analyse this change along three dimensions.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by intrusive anxiety-provoking thoughts (obsessions) and rituals aimed at reducing anxiety, which then paradoxically come to exacerbate it (compulsions). I have been studying clinicians working with people who suffer from a severe, …

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Technologies of Care: Administering Donated Breast Milk in a South African Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This article is part of the following series:

This is the third installment of the series from the University of Cape Town’s First Thousand Day Research Group. My research traces out the pathways of donated milk from donor to recipient in a state neonatal unit in South Africa (Waltz 2015), to show how care and technologies are interwoven in complex and sometimes surprising ways.

Breastfeeding is widely seen

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Three Millimeters

The first time I encountered Judy I was with Dr. Erlich, gathering fact sheets about vulvar pain conditions. Dr. Robichaud, the other physician at the Vulvar Health Clinic (VHC)[i], and a new resident entered the pod in a white-coated blur—animatedly conferring, hastily scribbling on forms that they were pulling from file cabinets, and getting on the phone to …

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My Thoughts While Doing Chest Compressions: Reflections on Care in the Intensive Care Unit from an Intern Physician-Medical Anthropologist

I was doing chest compressions on a 29-year-old woman who had just come up from the Emergency Room, and I was trying not to look at her face. She was gravely sick, intubated, and we had no idea what was wrong with her. When she went pulseless, we started the American Heart Association’s Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) algorithm for …

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