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Book: Communication in Surgical Practice

Chapter: Chapter 12 Who's Who?: Constructing Roles During Minor Awake Surgeries

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26412


Role performance and inter-personal dynamics of medical consultations have been examined through conversation analysis (CA) in a variety of settings but with particular focus on paediatrics. Although the dynamics of the operating theatre have been examined in some detail, CA research has not yet looked at the dynamics of awake surgeries. Key differences exist between awake surgeries and general anaesthesia that are relevant to interaction, primarily that the patient is conscious and able to speak. In minor awake surgeries, such as cyst removal, the sterile field may be smaller, the surgical team may be smaller and lack an anaesthesiologist, and the patient’s family or friends may be present as well. In this project, we explore the ways in which diverse parties that may be present and speaking during minor awake surgeries constitute their roles. We use a corpus of publicly available minor awake surgeries to examine the timing of talk in relation to the procedure, the content of the talk, and speakers’ rights and obligations in relation to the procedure, and the ways in which participants claim expertise and authority.

Chapter Contributors

  • Israel Berger ( - chezsruli) 'Roehampton University'
  • Sarah J. White ( - book-auth-724)