Drawing Blood: Technology and Disease Identity in Twentieth-Century America [NOOK Book]

Overview

In Drawing Blood, medical historian Keith Wailoo uses the story of blood diseases to explain how physicians in this century wielded medical technology to define disease, carve out medical specialties, and shape political agendas. As Wailoo's account makes clear, the seemingly straightforward process of identifying disease is invariably influenced by personal, professional, and social factors—and as a result produces not only clarity and precision but also bias and outright ...

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Drawing Blood: Technology and Disease Identity in Twentieth-Century America

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Overview

In Drawing Blood, medical historian Keith Wailoo uses the story of blood diseases to explain how physicians in this century wielded medical technology to define disease, carve out medical specialties, and shape political agendas. As Wailoo's account makes clear, the seemingly straightforward process of identifying disease is invariably influenced by personal, professional, and social factors—and as a result produces not only clarity and precision but also bias and outright error.

Drawing Blood reveals the ways in which physicians and patients as well as the diseases themselves are simultaneously shaping and being shaped by technology, medical professionalization, and society at large. This thought-provoking cultural history of disease, medicine, and technology offers an important perspective for current discussions of HIV and AIDS, genetic blood testing, prostate-specific antigen, and other important issues in an age of technological medicine.

"Makes clear that the high stakes involved in medical technology are not just financial, but moral and far reaching. They have been harnessed to describe clinical phenomena and to reflect social and cultural realities that influence not only medical treatment but self-identity, power, and authority."—Susan E. Lederer, H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences On Line

"Wailoo's masterful study of hematology and its disease discourse is a model of interdisciplinarity, combining cultural analysis, social history, and the history of medical ideas and technology to produce a complex narrative of disease definition, diagnosis, and treatment... He reminds us that medical technology is a neutral artifact of history. It can be, and has been, used to clarify and to cloud the understanding of disease, and it has the potential both to constrain and to emancipate its subjects."—Regina Morantz-Sanchez, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Charles S. Bryan
This monograph, the ninth volume in the Henry E. Sigerist Series in the History of Medicine, features six essays dealing with aspects of the history of twentieth-century hematology. These are ""chlorosis,"" ""splenic anemia,"" aplastic anemia, pernicious anemia, sickle cell disease, and the politics of hematology subsequent to World War II. The author's purpose is to demonstrate how technology affects the identity of disease within the context of ""a larger question about the construction of knowledge in modern medicine."" This book will be an essential reference to medical historians and sociologists who seek to understand twentieth-century hematology. The book's underlying theme and its numerous instructive anecdotes will also appeal to the much larger audience of persons concerned more broadly with healthcare delivery. ""Chlorosis"" was a frequently-made diagnosis in young women with vague complaints at the turn of the century. Its disappearance from the medical literature is explained only in part by the recognition of iron-deficiency anemia. In 1901, two Chicago surgeons performed splenectomy in an anemic young woman, giving rise to a popular notion of ""splenic anemia."" How many splenectomies were performed before this entity, too, fell from favor is unknown. The author also relates how various social, economic, and political agendas affected the emerging concepts of aplastic anemia, pernicious anemia, and hemoglobinopathy. This is an important contribution to a field of inquiry dealing with the interface of disease entities and the societies in which they occur. Building on previous work of this kind (see especially Framing Disease: Studies in CulturalHistory CE Rosenberg, J Golden, eds., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992), the author demonstrates that, in these instances at least, the epistemology of disease is seldom unbiased. Recipient of the American Public Health Association's Arthur Viseltear Prize, Dr. Wailoo has given us a scholarly, extensively referenced book that is likely to become a standard reference.
Booknews
Medical historian Keith Wailoo discusses the ways in which physicians and patients, as well as diseases, are simultaneously shaping and being shaped by technology, medical professionalization, and society at large. His critique offers insight into HIV and AIDS, genetic blood testing, prostate-specific antigen, and other important medical issues. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Charles S. Bryan, MD (University of South Carolina School of Medicine)
Description: This monograph, the ninth volume in the Henry E. Sigerist Series in the History of Medicine, features six essays dealing with aspects of the history of twentieth-century hematology. These are "chlorosis," "splenic anemia," aplastic anemia, pernicious anemia, sickle cell disease, and the politics of hematology subsequent to World War II.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to demonstrate how technology affects the identity of disease within the context of "a larger question about the construction of knowledge in modern medicine."
Audience: This book will be an essential reference to medical historians and sociologists who seek to understand twentieth-century hematology. The book's underlying theme and its numerous instructive anecdotes will also appeal to the much larger audience of persons concerned more broadly with healthcare delivery.
Features: "Chlorosis" was a frequently-made diagnosis in young women with vague complaints at the turn of the century. Its disappearance from the medical literature is explained only in part by the recognition of iron-deficiency anemia. In 1901, two Chicago surgeons performed splenectomy in an anemic young woman, giving rise to a popular notion of "splenic anemia." How many splenectomies were performed before this entity, too, fell from favor is unknown. The author also relates how various social, economic, and political agendas affected the emerging concepts of aplastic anemia, pernicious anemia, and hemoglobinopathy.
Assessment: This is an important contribution to a field of inquiry dealing with the interface of disease entities and the societies in which they occur. Building on previous work of this kind (see especially Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History CE Rosenberg, J Golden, eds., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992), the author demonstrates that, in these instances at least, the epistemology of disease is seldom unbiased. Recipient of the American Public Health Association's Arthur Viseltear Prize, Dr. Wailoo has given us a scholarly, extensively referenced book that is likely to become a standard reference.
The New England Journal of Medicine
Wailoo's analysis breaks new ground... he uses a wide array of sources and types of data to carry out an insightful analysis of a diverse sample of 20th-century hematologic diseases.

— Robert A. Aronowitz, M.D.

Science

This book is a marvelous example of how many threads can be spun together to create a compelling narrative. It interweaves histories of disease over the past century, of technology, of hematology, and of medicine in the broadest sense....This book [is] a fine history of the practice of medicine... Drawing Blood is first-class history at many levels and can be read with profit and pleasure by the clinician, historian, non-medical scientist, and interested layperson.

American Historical Review

Boldly and skillfully, Wailoo analyzes not only the role of physicians but of research hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. In addition, he shows how things like race, gender, and lifestyle influenced how physicians defined and responded to the very diseases that were called into existence by the new technologies they employed.

H-Net
Makes clear that the high stakes involved in medical technology are not just financial, but moral and far reaching. They have been harnessed to describe clinical phenomena and to reflect social and cultural realities that influence not only medical treatment but self-identity, power, and authority.

— Susan E. Lederer

Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Wailoo's masterful study of hematology and its disease discourse is a model of interdisciplinarity, combining cultural analysis, social history, and the history of medical ideas and technology to produce a complex narrative of disease definition, diagnosis, and treatment... He reminds us that medical technology is a neutral artifact of history. It can be, and has been, used to clarify and to cloud the understanding of disease, and it has the potential both to constrain and to emancipate its subjects.

— Regina Morantz-Sanchez

New England Journal of Medicine - Robert A. Aronowitz

Wailoo's analysis breaks new ground... he uses a wide array of sources and types of data to carry out an insightful analysis of a diverse sample of 20th-century hematologic diseases.

H-Sci-Med-Tech, H-Net - Susan E. Lederer

Makes clear that the high stakes involved in medical technology are not just financial, but moral and far reaching. They have been harnessed to describe clinical phenomena and to reflect social and cultural realities that influence not only medical treatment but self-identity, power, and authority.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History - Regina Morantz-Sanchez

Wailoo's masterful study of hematology and its disease discourse is a model of interdisciplinarity, combining cultural analysis, social history, and the history of medical ideas and technology to produce a complex narrative of disease definition, diagnosis, and treatment... He reminds us that medical technology is a neutral artifact of history. It can be, and has been, used to clarify and to cloud the understanding of disease, and it has the potential both to constrain and to emancipate its subjects.


3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Keith Wailoo is an associate professor in the Department of Social Medicine and the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Putting the Question to Technology 1
1 "Chlorosis" Remembered: Disease and the Moral Management of American Women 17
2 The Rise and Fall of Splenic Anemia: Surgical Identity and Ownership of a Blood Disease 46
3 Blood Work: The Scientific Management of Aplastic Anemia and Industrial Poisoning 73
4 The Corporate "Conquest" of Pernicious Anemia: Technology, Blood Researchers, and the Consumer 99
5 Detecting "Negro Blood": Black and White Identities and the Reconstruction of Sickle Cell Anemia 134
6 "The Forces That Are Molding Us": The National Politics of Blood and Disease after World War II 162
Conclusion: Disease Identity in the Age of Technological Medicine 188
Notes 201
Index 283
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