Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Linda M. Whiteford

Keywords

Childhood, Critical Medical Anthropology, Hospitalization, Narrative Research, Oncology, Parenting

Abstract

Recent studies on the Argentine public health system have demonstrated that the lack of medical resources in different parts of the country force pediatric oncology patients and their family members to travel to Buenos Aires in order to access care. This internal migration poses difficulties for these families as travel and resettlement are expensive, lead to the separation of family members, and interrupt the child's schooling. This dissertation was designed to document the everyday life experiences of traveling families in order to understand the barriers they faced while attempting to access medical treatment and the strategies they used to surmount these obstacles.

Narrative research and Critical Medical Anthropology were combined in order to analyze individual treatment and migration experiences within the political and economic context of the Argentine public health system. The interviews, visual timelines, drawings, and participant-observation carried out with 35 families shed light on differences in the conceptualization of medical treatment and migration between children and their parents, the ways in which the process of parenting was affected by relocation, and the changes that need to be made in the current Argentine public health system to provide timely and high quality pediatric oncology treatment and avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment.

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