Patient history

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Patient history is a branch of the social history of medicine . She researches the patient's view of their suffering and the medical actions performed in this context by doctors or members of other medical professions . Aspects of social perception and negotiation processes between experts and laypeople are at the center of interest in patient historiography.

Methodology and history of the field

According to Burkhart Brückner, patient history is a story of subjective sources . It is based in particular on personal reports ( autobiographies , diaries and letters ), but also ego documents (medical histories, medical files, third-party certificates). Be used in addition, drawings , photographs and objects of daily use.

It was the British historian Roy Porter (1946–2002) who in 1985 called for medical history to be written from the patient's perspective. The aim was to overcome the focus on doctors that had existed up to that point and to focus on the evaluation of learned texts. In the second half of the 20th century, Porter declared the patient himself to be the focus of investigation in the history of medicine.

See also

Narrative medicine


  • Alexandra Bacopoulos-Viau, Aude Fauvel: The Patient's Turn. Roy Porter and Psychiatry's Tales, Thirty Years on . In: Medical History 60, (1), 2016, 1–18.
  • Burkhart Brückner, Thomas Röske, Maike Rotzoll, Thomas Müller: History of psychiatry "from below". Development and status of German-language research . In: Medizinhistorisches Journal 54, (4), 2019, pp. 347–376.
  • Burkhart Brückner: Animal Magnetism, Psychiatry and Subjective Experience in Nineteenth-Century Germany: Friedrich Krauss and his "Nothschrei". In: Medical History 60, (1), 2016, pp. 19–36.
  • Burkhart Brückner: Delirium and madness - history, personal testimonies and theories from antiquity to 1900 . Volume I: From Antiquity to Enlightenment, Volume II: The 19th Century - Germany, Guido Pressler Verlag , Hürtgenwald 2007, ISBN 978-3-876-46099-4 .
  • Giovanni Maio : Human focus: ethics in medicine. A textbook . Schattauer Verlag , Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-7945-2448-8 .
  • Rafael Huertas: Another history for another psychiatry. The patient's view . In: Culture & History Digital Journal 2, 2013, e020.
  • Philipp Osten (Ed.): Patient documents. Illness in self-testimonies . Franz Steiner Verlag , Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-515-09717-8 .
  • Roy Porter: The Patient's View. Doing Medical History from Below . In: Theory and Society 14, (2), 1985, pp. 175-198.
  • Geoffrey Reaume: From the perspective of mad people . In: Greg Eghigian (ed.): The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health. London, New York 2017, 277-296.
  • Melanie Ruff: Faces of the First World War. Everyday life, biographies and self-portraits of faced soldiers . In: Medicine, Society and History - Supplements, Volume 55, Franz Steiner Verlag , Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-515-11058-7 .
  • Florian Steger : Patient history - a perspective for sources of ancient medicine? Reflections on the medical histories of the epidemic books of the Corpus Hippocratium . In: Sudhoffs Archiv 91, (2), Franz Steiner Verlag , Stuttgart 2007, pp. 230-238.
  • Gunnar Stollberg / Christina Vanja / Florian Bruns / Fritz Dross (eds.): Patient history in hospitals, health centers and hospitals . Historia Hospitalium, volume. 29, Lit Verlag , Berlin / Münster / Zurich / Vienna / London 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13174-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Burkhart Brückner: Psychiatry-historical research with personal testimonials , accessed on June 20, 2016.
  2. Burkhart Brückner, Thomas Röske, Maike Rotzoll, Thomas Müller: History of Psychiatry "from below". Development and status of German-language research. In: Medical History Journal . tape 54 , no. 4 , 2019, p. 347-376 .
  3. Gerhard Ammerer / Elke Schlenkrich / Sabine Veits-Falk / Alfred Stefan Weiß (eds.): Poverty in the country. Central Europe from the late Middle Ages to the middle of the 19th century , Böhlau Verlag , Vienna 2019, p. 159.