CT Suite: The Work of Diagnosis in the Age of Noninvasive by Barry F. Saunders

By Barry F. Saunders

In CT Suite the general practitioner and anthropologist Barry F. Saunders presents an ethnographic account of the way a selected diagnostic know-how, the computed tomographic (CT) scanner, shapes social kin and highbrow actions in and past the CT suite, the unit in the diagnostic radiology division of a big educating health center the place CT photos are made and interpreted. targeting how services is played and the way CT pictures are made into diagnostic proof, he concentrates now not at the functionality of CT pictures for sufferers yet at the functionality of the photographs for doctors going approximately their workouts. but Saunders deals greater than insider ethnography. He hyperlinks diagnostic paintings to practices and conventions from outdoor medication and from past old moments. In discussion with technological know-how and know-how experiences, he makes an important contribution to scholarship at the visible cultures of medicine.

Saunders’s analyses are trained through strands of cultural heritage and concept together with paintings old reviews of realist illustration, Walter Benjamin’s issues approximately violence in “mechanical reproduction,” and tropes of detective fiction resembling intrigue, the case, and the wrongdoer. Saunders analyzes the diagnostic “gaze” of clinical team of workers examining photos on the viewbox, the two-dimensional pictures or slices of the human physique rendered via the scanner, equipment of archiving photos, and using scans as pedagogical instruments in scientific meetings. Bringing cloistered diagnostic practices into public view, he finds the customs and the social hierarchies which are formulated and negotiated round the weighty presence of the CT scanner. while, by means of returning all through to the nineteenth-century rules of detection and medical authority that tell modern scientific analysis, Saunders highlights the specters of the previous in what seems to be a preeminently sleek desktop.

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Extra resources for CT Suite: The Work of Diagnosis in the Age of Noninvasive Cutting

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Fellow: It was there before. Resident: Where’d you see that before? On the old film—oh yeah, right there. Fellow: They were both there. Fellow: OK, that’s—that’s the old one, good. Resident: Where’s pancreas? Fellow: There was ah—on the old one—pancreas is here, see it? Rhetorics of interactive seeing can veer from explanation to contradiction. The performative scaffoldings of teaching also serve agendas of self-convincing, self-persuading. Body ct attending: Maybe that’s a hemangioma up at the dome of the liver, it ah—just looks too— Body ct fellow: I know what you mean— Attending: —regular.

Ct attending: Pull up a seat . . why stand? But the ct attending remains standing, and the pulmonary attending sits. Residents are right and left, the man squatting, the woman standing; the fellow stands behind; none takes the empty chair. The attendings discuss “patchy opacities” in the lungs. They point. They move images on the board. They consider diseases that patchy opacities might signify. The ct attending expresses interest in the patient’s past treatment with methotrexate. The pulmonary attending disputes the relevance of this—on the basis of imaging criteria.

One attending recalled his experiences making stereo angiograms of postmortem hearts: Radiologist: Then I would make some stereo images of those and you could actually see the heart . . you could fuse the image and kind of see where the coronary arteries are—circumflex—and very, very effective. Investigator: Mm-hmm. Radiologist: The trouble with that technology is that you can’t share it with anybody. Investigator: It’s a fairly private— Radiologist: You have to do it yourself. If you can’t do it, you’re just sitting there looking at it, you know.

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