Scientific article
Case report

Vulnerability in the clinic: case study of a transcultural consultation

Published inJournal of medical ethics, vol. 44, no. 3, p. 167-170
Publication date2018-03-24
First online date2016-06-24

Discrimination and inequalities in healthcare can be experienced by many patients due to many characteristics ranging from the obviously visible to the more subtly noticeable, such as race and ethnicity, legal status, social class, linguistic fluency, health literacy, age, gender and weight. Discrimination can take a number of forms including overt racist statement, stereotyping or explicit and implicit attitudes and biases. This paper presents the case study of a complex transcultural clinical encounter between the mother of a young infant in a highly vulnerable social situation and a hospital healthcare team. In this clinical setting, both parties experienced difficulties, generating explicit and implicit negative attitudes that heightened into reciprocal mistrust, conflict and distress. The different factors influencing their conscious and unconscious biases will be analysed and discussed to offer understanding of the complicated nature of human interactions when faced with vulnerability in clinical practice. This case vignette also illustrates how, even in institutions with long-standing experience and many internal resources to address diversity and vulnerability, cultural competence remains a constant challenge.

  • Clinical Ethics
  • Cultural Pluralism
  • Decision-making
  • Minorities
  • Patient perspective
Citation (ISO format)
DOMINICE DAO, Mélissa. Vulnerability in the clinic: case study of a transcultural consultation. In: Journal of medical ethics, 2018, vol. 44, n° 3, p. 167–170. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2015-103337
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0306-6800

Technical informations

Creation12/08/2022 9:42:00 PM
First validation12/08/2022 9:42:00 PM
Update time02/21/2024 11:40:33 AM
Status update02/21/2024 11:40:33 AM
Last indexation02/21/2024 11:40:34 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack