What you don't know will hurt the patient
This textbook is about everything we didn’t know, but ought to know, about patients from a different background than the one we are familiar with. About everything we forget, overlook, ignore, misinterpret, downplay – or simply give up on.
The book is probably a slightly different textbook because it is largely based on patient cases and experiences that are accumulated by examining and treating patients from ethnic minority backgrounds. Specifically, the subject matter of the book focuses on the health of ethnic minorities, clinical issues and communication across cultures in relation to illness, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Furthermore, the book conveys the overall message that much becomes understandable when you understand the patient’s life story – whether he or she was born in Sweden or Somalia. Because most of the body, we have in common, and most diseases we have in common. However, it is the life story, social events, resources, trauma, actions, the help you receive and the social consequences that determine whether we get sick, how we get sick, how we live with illness, and how long we live with it. The book provides a number of examples of how to co-create sustainable solutions with patients, no matter how complex their health problems are.
This textbook is therefore also a clinical input that supports the teaching of narrative medicine aimed at medical and nursing students. It is important that we arouse students' professional curiosity about the role of the patient’s history in treatment, and it is crucial that we sharpen their ability to listen. Because even the best medicine doesn't work on the wrong medical history.
I hope this book will motivate doctors, medical students and anyone else working in health care with ethnic minority patients to spend time – with the patient – on approaching a common medical history that can form the basis for a sensible diagnosis and effective, appropriate treatment.
Professor & Senior Consultant
You can find a free copy of the book for download here.