Dr Marian Krawczyk on her new research role at the University of Glasgow

Published on: Author: mariankrawczyk 3 Comments
Dr Marian Krawczyk

I have always been fascinated by hospitals. They are spaces where some of the most intense and vulnerable moments of our lives happen, and for many of us, it is also be where we will spend our very last days of life and die.

Given the importance of the hospital in our final illness trajectories, my interest is to better understand how we – both as individuals and as a society – negotiate understandings of what it means to be nearing end of life in hospital settings, and what care practices are constructed as appropriate or inappropriate for those who are sick enough to die.

This is an important time to researching hospital end of life and palliative care as it is rapidly being reconfigured by social, economic, and professional considerations such as growth of palliative care as a speciality, innovations in medicine, aging multi-morbid populations, increasing prognostic uncertainty, championing of patient and family member involvement in care decisions, interest in physician-assisted dying, system resource considerations, and changing ideas of a good death.

These, and other considerations, place hospitals at the epicentre of debates regarding how to best care for those nearing end of life.

“Hello, my name is Marian Krawczyk”, and I am a medical anthropologist who specializes in researching palliative and end of life hospital care. I am a new post-doctoral fellow working in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies here at the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group.

In my new position, my goal is twofold:

First, I will extend my knowledge about Canadian end of life hospital care by conducting research in hospitals here in Scotland. In particular I want to build on Professor David Clark and his team’s ground-breaking imminence of death studies which have been conducted in Scotland and beyond. Second, while there is a wealth of anthropological research about hospitals that now spans almost 50 years, no one has yet systematically reviewed all of these contributions.

At the same time, new methods and theories within the field are reconceptualising approaches to this kind of enquiry. Consequently, I am in the process of mapping the rich body of literature specific to anthropological approaches to hospital care. Ultimately I hope that, as worldwide rates of dying become one of the most pressing health concerns of our time, my research will facilitate critically engaged development of globally innovative and locally relevant hospital care for those are nearing the end of life.

I am from the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Previous to starting this position, my PhD (Negotiated practices: understanding hospital palliative care as an affective economy, 2015, Simon Fraser University) was an in-depth account of how Canadian palliative specialists, patients, and family members negotiated prognostic uncertainty to create collaborative end of life care pathways within increasingly complex health systems. I then held joint post-doctoral positions (2015-2017) with Trinity Western University (Langley, B.C.), The Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Evaluation (Vancouver, B.C.), and the Canadian Frailty Network.

My research focused on the impact of new technologies for enhancing person-centered care by electronically eliciting patient and family-members’ self-reports of quality of life and experiences in diverse palliative care settings. I am particularly passionate about working at the interface between interdisciplinary social studies theorizing and clinical practice, and learning how each can inform the other.

I’m tremendously excited to have this opportunity to join the University of Glasgow. In particular I extend thanks to Professor David Clark (Founder of the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group) and Professor Carol Hill (Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies) for their support and mentorship.

As I settle into my new role over the coming months, I plan to blog regularly about my work, and I encourage anyone interested in these ideas to contact me – I’d love to hear your thoughts and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Marian Krawczyk

3 Responses to Dr Marian Krawczyk on her new research role at the University of Glasgow Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. Congratulations on your new post Marion. I hope you will also consider those of us in midlife or younger who are on palliative care for life, for a normal life span, because we have chronic pain states. These are common neurological conditions where the brain has rewired to send and receive unnecessary pain signals to and from the body. Sometimes injury or surgery kick off these startes and sometimes they just happen. There is no cure. A life of pain and the consequent sleep deprivation is what they do to torture people. Only two UK Medical Schools, including Glasgow, make pain management compulsory for trainee doctors. As a result ignorant doctors stress us, suspect us of being addicts and cause permanent disability by not treating us with opiates within 2 years of pain onset. Anaesthetists manage pain in tertiary care but there is insufficient provision and most patients never reach a pain clinic. Even so for pts. with good anaesthetists pain can be ameliorated but not removed by extensive cocktails of different medications: usually one for each of the body’s five different pain receptors. The fifth receptor type is for cannabis. Pain Doctors are tearing their hair out this is not legal for pain patients. The stress of abuse by ignorant doctors and being suspected of being addicts (meds taken for actual pain are not addictive, they do not make you high), makes pain permanently worse – I have had my consent breached multiple times, been relentlessly bullied by unqualified GPs and even assaulted by nurses for no reason. The assault has spread my pain to my writing arm and hand, for life. I can for example no longer wash my own hair. The outcome of five years bullying by medics is that my pain has become so severe it will never be medically controlled and I have probably another 40 years to life with that torture. I shall never work again which is a huge sadness for me. I have had to spend > £800,000 over 13 years where the NHS and Social Services do not provide. The latter lie to avoid doing so, that has happened to me twice and I’ve had to fund my own care losing my house and pension in the process. We need the option of assisted dying is my belief because what happens when the money for pain control runs out?

  2. Hi there: just wondering why my comment on Chronic Pain not published? This is National Pain Awareness month. Would you like me to edit it?

    • Hello Rachel;

      Chronic complex pain is enormously challenging – both for those who are living with it, and for clinicians attempting to manage it. While it is of no immediate help to you, chronic complex pain management is an increasing focus in palliative care, and was a topic of discussion at the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Conference last week. Progress in managing chronic complex pain is also occurring as palliative care clinicians become more familiar with patients such as yourself. While I am looking forward to learning about palliative and end of life hospital care in Scotland, there will be many aspects of care that fall outside my research area, so I am grateful to you for sharing your insights. I wish you well on such a difficult journey, and I hope that you continue to be a strong advocate for patient-centered care. – Marian

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