Reply To: Black Man in a White Coat, 54-102, 105-152

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I thought that our lecture on understanding racism and the political economy’s effects on health, illness, and survival this past Wednesday was really relevant to this section of the Tweedy reading. Demographic and class factors play a huge part in who is at risk, who receives care, and what quality of care they actually experience. In Black Man in a White Coat, Tweedy mentions a story about three New Yorkers (of varying social classes) that each have a heart attack at the same time and the different journeys they experienced. The New York Times found that the wealthy heart attack patient recovered quickly with little to no complications, the middle-class man had a minor complication, and the working-class woman suffered many complications that made her recovery slower and more difficult. Clearly, the amount of money that one has available greatly changes their level of access to high quality medical care. Statistics and stories come into play here; we need both in order to understand trends like these, and how class factors are intersectional with those of race. Both stories and statistics are necessary to track the quantifiable information in order to structurally adjust social programs and institutions, while stories are very important to showing the more personal effects that illness, race, and class-factors can have on people.