In the Patient's Best Interest: Women and the Politics of Medical Decisions

Rose Laub Coser, PhD
JAMA. 1989;261(15):2264. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420150114050.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


In the sociological analysis of doctorpatient relationships, the classic sociological theory, articulated by Talcott Parsons, states that physicians, in contrast to businesspeople, for example, are not self-oriented; rather, they are oriented to act in the interest of their patients. To the objection that many physicians do indeed act in their own self-interest, it is argued that the classic definition refers to institutionalized social norms and is not taken to mean that there aren't people who deviate from it.

In this book the author, rejecting the classic definition, meets it on its own terms: she does not try to show up individual shortcomings in the doctor-patient relationship, but rests her case on institutionalized normative behavior. She shows that it is expected by both partners in the interaction, physicians and patients alike, that the former will use their institutional authority to define the patients' interests.

Having selected as her problem of investigation


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.