eCite Digital Repository

Patient narratives of illnesses requiring abdominal surgery in Cambodia: Heroic/stoic, and dealing with ‘the ball of meat’


Page, W and Murray, L and Phun, K and Turner, R, Patient narratives of illnesses requiring abdominal surgery in Cambodia: Heroic/stoic, and dealing with a the ball of meata , Global Public Health pp. 1-13. ISSN 1744-1692 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/17441692.2019.1636113


This study describes the illness narratives that inform treatment-seeking behaviours for acute abdominal conditions in Cambodia, and thereby explores factors impeding the timely delivery of surgical intervention. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken with patients who had undergone abdominal surgery at Siem Reap Provincial Hospital between 2011 and 2014. Interviews collected basic demographic information and also patient narratives based on Groleaus McGill Illness Narrative Interview (MINI). Interviews were contemporaneously translated from Khmer to English and recorded for transcription. A content analysis of interview transcripts based on narrative enquiry was undertaken. Ninety-seven patients participated in the study and five themes emerged from the data. These were: Explanatory models about the causes of abdominal pain and effects of surgery; Pre-surgery stoicism and illness management; Fear of poor outcomes and death; Burden of treatment costs and anticipated recovery time; and, Enhancing community trust in surgery. Our findings add the patient voice to the limited evidence about access to surgery, and socio-cultural and financial barriers affecting treatment-seeking behaviours in Cambodia. By understanding the collective narratives surrounding experiences of abdominal surgery, efforts to improve surgical services in Cambodia may be better informed of the reasons patients delay treatment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Cambodia, surgery, treatment-seeking behaviour, anaesthetic
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Surgery
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to specific ethnic groups
UTAS Author:Page, W (Ms Wendy Page)
UTAS Author:Murray, L (Dr Linda Murray)
UTAS Author:Turner, R (Professor Richard Turner)
ID Code:136983
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2020-01-24
Last Modified:2020-05-20

Repository Staff Only: item control page