Conflict and consultation: Strategic manoeuvring in response to an antibiotic request

Abstract

In recent years, the model of shared decision-making has become increasingly promoted as the preferred standard in doctor-patient communication. As the model considers doctor and patient as coe-qual partners that negotiate their preferred treatment options in order to reach a shared decision, shared de-cision-making notably leaves room for the usage of argumentation in the context of medical consultation. A paradigm example of argumentative conflict in consultation is the discussion that emerges between doctors and their patients concerning antibiotics as a method of treatment for what is presumed to be a viral infec-tion. In this paper, a case of such argumentative conflict is studied, using the extended pragma-dialectical theory to argumentation. It is examined how a patient and her physician manoeuvre strategically in order to maintain a balance between dialectical reasonableness and rhetorical effectiveness, as well as an equilibri-um between patient participation and evidence-based medication, while arguing their case for and against antibiotics respectively.

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Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor

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