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Bodies in FluxScientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty$
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Christa Teston

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226450520

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226450834.001.0001

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Evidencing Visuals

Evidencing Visuals

(p.26) 2. Evidencing Visuals
Bodies in Flux

Christa Teston

University of Chicago Press

Making disease visible is often the first step in mapping a plan for how to navigate medical uncertainty—especially when caring for patients with cancer. To better understand the backstage biomedical methods and materials that make visual evidences persuasive, this chapter reports on results from a case study of how medical images are used during medical deliberations. Interviews with an oncologist and a pathologist provide details about the behind-the-scenes activities associated with capturing, slicing, cover-slipping, staining, and viewing cancer cells. Analyses of three patients’ cancer-care deliberations illustrate how medical professionals use these visual evidences to make sense of bodies in constant flux. Ultimately, the chapter argues that bodies in flux always outpace the human gaze; anthropocentric narratives about fighting cancer or battling bodies leaves little room for dwelling with a body’s unpredictability. In place of such narratives, the chapter proposes kairos as a key rhetorical skill for patient care. Kairos accounts for the ways in which matter, movement, and time are suasive contributors to medical decision making. To dwell kairotically suggests that one is skilled at attuning to spatial and temporal contingencies of constantly changing phenomena.

Keywords:   medical images, oncology, pathology, cancer, dwelling, kairos, matter, movement, time, medical decision-making

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