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Doctors and Their Patients in the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2016
Author Baschin Marion, Dietrich-Daum Elisabeth, Ritzmann Iris,
Project Ländliche Heilerpraxis in der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Clio Medica. Perspectives in Medical Humanities
Volume (Issue) 96
Page(s) 39 - 70
Title of proceedings Clio Medica. Perspectives in Medical Humanities


All in all, analysis of the practice journals shows that the physician-patient contact up until the 19th century consisted mostly of communication about complaints and the negotiation of possible therapies. Despite the application of the most varied diagnostic procedures, the conversation remained the central part of the examination. Patients rarely came to their doctor in cases of great emergency, but often because they suffered from persistent symptoms. Not only did they describe their own interpretations, they also expressed expectations which the physicians largely tried to satisfy. This accommodating attitude might well be the key to the success of their practices. Up until at least the late 19th century, patients remained influential agents in a system of relatively balanced relationships.