On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication

Article


Nguyen, Huong Thi Linh and Austin, Gavin. 2018. "On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication." Theory and Practice in Language Studies. 8 (7), pp. 713-725. https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0807.01
Article Title

On invoking third parties in Vietnamese medical communication

ERA Journal ID201646
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsNguyen, Huong Thi Linh (Author) and Austin, Gavin (Author)
Journal TitleTheory and Practice in Language Studies
Journal Citation8 (7), pp. 713-725
Number of Pages13
Year2018
PublisherAcademy Publication
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1799-2591
2053-0692
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0807.01
Web Address (URL)http://www.academypublication.com/issues2/tpls/vol08/07/07.html
Abstract

This study is concerned with the practice of invoking third parties among doctors and patients in Vietnamese medical consultations. These third parties are relatives of the patient who are also medical professionals. We show that doctors invoke relatives-plus-medical professionals in order to elicit information from patients, while patients adopt this practice in order to circumvent a troublesome administrative requirement; obtain a preferred form of treatment; receive a health-related service from the hospital, while also diminishing accountability for making this request in case it turns out to be irregular; give reasons for selecting the current hospital; or challenge the doctor’s expertise. Another possible motive is to receive special attention from the treating doctor. We suggest that doctors and patients are particularly inclined to invoke relatives-plus-medical professionals as third parties because of two social forces within Vietnamese culture: collectivism and social status. We also adduce evidence that, as a determinant of the patient’s future treatment for their problem, their familial relationship with the third party overrides this person’s status as a medical professional in this cultural context. More broadly, our findings indicate that medical communication is not invariant across cultures, but can be shaped by culture-specific forces.

Keywordsmedical communication, third parties, cultural context, Vietnam, conversation analysis
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020479999. Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

Open access journal.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q4w2w/on-invoking-third-parties-in-vietnamese-medical-communication

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