Transformation of the Patient-Physician Relationship from the Magic Touch to Contactless Treatment: The Human Consequences of Robotic Surgery


ERGUR A. , Cobanoglu C.

ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, cilt.40, ss.467-497, 2020 (ESCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 40 Konu: 1
  • Basım Tarihi: 2020
  • Doi Numarası: 10.26650/sj.2020.40.1.0033-1
  • Dergi Adı: ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.467-497

Özet

The new order of relationships financial capitalism brought about by circulating abstract values has fluidized the basic logic of social action. As a result, while social identification has become ambiguous, the constantly reconstructed interactions have replaced solid structures. The field technology occupies in social life is gradually expanding, and the sociality established by fluid relations becomes possible only with the quantitative diffusion and qualitative development of technology. This process relates not just to technical, material, and structural elements but also signifies a deeper moral transformation and change in human relationships. Professions feel the direct consequences of technologization. The transformation of professions that deal with vital issues and that are obliged to adapt themselves to the innovations by their very nature can be treated sociologically as a kind of litmus paper. In this way, both the direction of social change can be determined and the factors affecting it can be analyzed. In this field study, we examine the process of robotic surgery by conducting in-depth interviews with 15 physicians using Da Vinci surgical systems and robotics. We found robotic surgery to be able to substantially transform both materially and spiritually the phenomenon of touch, which is intrinsic to the nature of healing as the main function of medicine. By claiming the privilege of the magic touch that had been attributed to physicians since ancient times to have been replaced by contactless relationships established through interfaces, we argue that this change in medicine can in fact be treated as a sign and an ideal type of a more general social-moral transformation. In this article, we examine the characteristics of touch; how surgeons perceive their professions, themselves, and their patients in this technologized process; and how they experience the conceptual results of Da Vinci.