Images do not speak for themselves: a sociological study of a liver transplantation team

Sandra Mara Maciel-Lima José Miguel Rasia About the authors

This article aims to understand how a liver transplantation team deals with the constant tension between certainty and uncertainty in medical practices associated with the use of images in the transplantation process. We used the methodology of qualitative approach, ethnography and case study as technical procedures. Data were collected through observation and through semi-directive interviews performed with the transplantation team of Hospital das Clínicas of UFPR. Every image requires analysis and interpretation, preferably by an imaging specialist, who is able to identify what it reveals. And that is when the insufficiencies of the images are perceived, as well as of the manifested certainty; the illusion of a practice of interpretation without the presence of the subjectivity of the interpreter. In the analysis of medical images what is at stake is also the way of seeing the object being analyzed. Often what we see are fragments of what happens in the body, and the interpretation of the image presupposes information that is not visible, but which is captured by the experience and knowledge acquired by the physician over time and in his/her relationship with the patient. It can be seen, therefore, that even with the development of imaging technologies in the medical field, the tension between objectivity and subjectivity, between certainty and uncertainty, between knowing and seeing, is not eliminated.

Liver Transplantation; Habitus; Imaging

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