On TB Vaccines, Patients’ Demands, and Modern Printed Media in Times of Biomedical Uncertainties: Buenos Aires, 1920–1950
Reconstructing some of the experiences of people living with tuberculosis in Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century, as reflected not only in written and oral accounts but also in individual and collective actions, this article explores the ways in which patients came to grips with medical expertise in times of biomedical uncertainty. These negotiations, which inevitably included adaptations as well as confrontations, highlight a much less passive and submissive patient–physician relationship than is often assumed. Though patients were certainly subordinate to medical doctors’ knowledge and practices, that subordination, far from absolute, was limited and often overthrown. The article focuses on patients’ demands to gain access to a vaccine not approved by the medical establishment. By engaging with media organizations, the sick invoked their “right to health” in order to obtain access to experimental treatments when biomedicine was unable to deliver efficient therapies.
KeywordsArgentina TB patients Vaccines Printed media Patients’ collective actions
- Armus, D. 2005. Historias de enfermos tuberculosos que protestan: Argentina, 1920–1940. In Avatares de la medicalización en América latina, 1870–1970, edited by D. Armus, 65–74. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial.Google Scholar
- Cetrángolo, A. 1945. Treinta años curando tuberculosos. Buenos Aires: Hachette.Google Scholar
- Petit de Murat, U. 1943. El balcón hacia la muerte. Buenos Aires: Lautaro.Google Scholar
- Pueyo, J. 1942. La burocracia de la medicina contra los tuberculosis: Síntesis documentada y antecedents reales de mi vacuna antituberculosa: Yo acuso. Buenos Aires: Editorial Científica.Google Scholar
- Vitón, J.J. 1928. Lo que todo tuberculoso debe saber: Anotaciones y consejos que ayudan a curar la tuberculosis y enseñan a evitarla. Buenos Aires: El Ateneo.Google Scholar