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Table 7 Examples of cultural consultation requests

From: The relevance of clinical ethnography: reflections on 10 years of a cultural consultation service

Brief clinical description Requests made by the referring clinician
A. Young recent immigrant female patient, illiterate and with very basic French language ability who was recently diagnosed with sarcoidosis. The patient complains of drug side effects (despite low-dose treatment), massive weight gain and chronic pain. The patient is depressed and hides her illness from her family and community. Her physician would like to better understand why her illness is viewed so negatively by the patient and her family/community.
B. Female visible minority patient in her late twenties, hospitalized for 3 weeks for an acute abdominal infection. Treated unsuccessfully with antibiotics and a drain, she is now refusing all treatments and wants to leave the hospital. When her doctor explained that this would lead to serious consequences for her health, the patient and her mother became angry, stating that only God could predict the future. Her physician would like help in overcoming this conflict so that he can treat the patient efficiently.
C. Middle aged male ex-refugee patient suffering from chronic pain and disability of the shoulder after an accident 10 years earlier, which was followed by significant social decline. He also presented with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with no improvement despite medical treatment and psychotherapy. The patient’s family doctor and psychologist referred the patient because they wished to better understand his migration history. Also they were puzzled by the cultural aspects of his obsessive thoughts (karmic interpretation of misfortune) and were uncertain how to help the patient.