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Collaboration with the Epilepsy Patient
  1. Walter Eggers
  1. Professor, Department of English, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA; E-mail: wfeggers{at}


This article is a patient’s first-person account of drug therapy for epileptic seizures, written not for fellow patients but for physicians who treat epilepsy. Most patients’ accounts are descriptive and emotional, even sensational, intended to assure those who are subject to seizures that they should not be surprised or embarrassed by what happens to them (Schachter 1993). But here, the objective is to persuade physicians to attend more closely to their patients’ experiences when they prescribe drug therapies. The perspectives of physicians and patients are naturally sometimes different, even contrary. I want to argue that in cases of epilepsy, in particular, drug therapy should, in effect, be negotiated between physicians and patients, to ensure the right decisions are made on the basis of information that physicians can access no other way. Collaboration between physicians and patients has an additional bonus: people subject to seizures benefit from a greater sense of

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