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Medical case history of Constance Butter- worth, a patient of Holloway Sanatorium L0033810 Wellcome Images
Physicians are themselves biographers of individual patients, whose narratives they construct in case notes and histories. Describing patients as ‘present- ing with’ specific circumstances or symptoms, medical case notes inherently acknowledge the distinction between the patient’s own story and the physician’s interpretation (or diagnosis) of it. Developing from a combination of the physician’s prior medical knowledge and the expression of disease in the individual they are treating, these stories often have multiple plot lines. Patients who demand a second opinion could be considered as characters hoping to discover an alternative ending to their own story.
RIGHT: Constance Butterworth Photograph from Holloway Sanatorium Hospital for the Insane, Virginia Water, Surrey, Females no. 11: Certifi ed female patients admitted May 1898–May 1899 L0049042 Wellcome Images