Seeing the Patient

Shame and stigma can cloud medical appointments for some patients; a video presentation highlighting issues in the lives of those with hepatitis C. This is an accompanying piece to the upcoming film In Spate.

This video accompanies a blog piece: Wary and watchful: Life with hepatitis C, produced for the Shame and Medicine project at the University of Exeter.


Title card: Seeing the Patient by Dr Sarah Skyrme.

Sarah Skyrme: Patients with Hepatitis C can feel shame and discomfort regarding their condition when they attend medical appointments.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus affecting the liver that is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact, and it is prevalent among injecting drug-users and in prisons.

Living with hepatitis C requires regular health care, but appointments can be fraught, due to the associations with illicit behaviours. Clinicians may not know how to talk to patients, and shame, blame, and stigma can cloud and impair interactions.

Patients frequently struggle with poor health, financial worries, and awareness of how others may view them, and their help-seeking behaviour can be limited because of this, furthering their isolation and self-censorship.

Those who already feel marginalised can benefit from supportive, non-judgemental healthcare encounters where their selfhood beyond the disease is recognised and validated.

This is as simple as making eye contact, a smile, a word of kindness – treating the disease is not the same as treating the whole person.

Credits card:

Dr Sarah Skyrme
Animation by
Jeremy Richard
With funding from
The University of Manchester

Seeing the Patient by Sarah Skyrme is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0