. . the white coat producing fear and intimidation, stress and dependency in patients. Some claim that the white coat is a barrier, that it frightens patients (especially children). . . . Others say that it promotes arrogance. . . . The coat itself is not the issue--it's the learning, the behavior, the values, the compassion that it stands for. . . . (Broder, 1999).
Broder goes on to say that despite changes in business cycles, health insurance, health care delivery systems, managed care and medical school curricula, "when a patient and a doctor come together . . . , the patient's unspoken plea will remain the same: Oh, doctor. listen to me, respect me, be honest with me, do the best you can for me. . . . " (Broder, 1999).
Why, however, is there too often an absence of this respect, a failure to listen, and is instead fear on the part of the patient and a sense of superiority on the part of the doctor?
The three theorists offer views on social relations which shed light on this doctor-patient relationship and this associated fear and arrogance.
Marx believes that all social relations are determined by historical forces moving through the centuries and dividing human beings along class, gender and other lines. This situation, he says, is as physical and inevitable as a boulder rolling down a hill gathering speed. The split between the classes will become so grea