Reading Response #1- Out Patients

In Elise Wu’s study, “Out Patients”, she portrays the community of a medical condition called factitious disorder (FD) and her experience before and after her self-diagnosis of the illness. FD is defined as deliberately creating physical or psychological symptoms simply to take on the role of the patient with extreme cases being Munchausen syndrome. She describes herself as a member of the culture/online community telling her story of herself going into emergency showing some presumably symptoms of appendicitis and “the most acute years of the near decade I spent faking illness”(143).

She creates a verbal portrait of this community through imagery when describing her own experiences and by describing the posts on the thread. Wu did research about the patients, their contact with therapists, their families, and their doctors.Through her research she found an online community in the form of a visual discussion group for people interested in the disorder. She explains her anxieties and fears for herself and other members of the FD community. When researching FD she creates a verbal portrait as she gives an abundance of information she learned that allowed her to self-diagnose herself with FD and give the audience an understanding of the condition. She uses multiple online sources including the Cleveland clinic foundation website, Dr.Feldman’s website, and Munchausen library.She also presents statistics from professionals like Dr. Feldman. 

Wu triangulates the data, research and findings she discovered with her own personal experience with FD. Wu’s footnotes play a role in her text by providing an organized in depth background information. Her footnotes show directly where her information came from and upheld the credibility of her text on FD.

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