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Za človeka gre 2021 / All about people 2021

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From Heroes To The Dead: The Image of A Doctor During The Coronavirus In Slovenia

During the coronavirus epidemic in 2020 and 2021, public discourse about physicians on social media fluctuated between extremes ranging from idolization, hero worship, and contempt to verbal and physical threats. These diametrically different images of doctors coincided with the measures taken to contain the epidemic and the consequences on the lives of people who suddenly lost their livelihoods and sense of freedom. The discourse on doctors observed on Facebook for a year from March 2020 to March 2021 shows that the entire burden of staff shortage and otherwise poorly regulated health care fell on medical staff who had to deal with long queues, exhaustion and escalated verbal and physical aggression. The deprivation of the right to treatment for anyone within a reasonable time, which loomed over the entire health care system due to a coronavirus, triggered fierce anger, vulgar insults and comparisons of all kinds, physical harassment and death threats against individual doctors, and an unjustifiably growing and unstoppable distrust of medicine in general. In this article, hostile and abusive online communication that in real life is discharged in occasional physical attacks on medical personnel is analysed using three representative patterns: Animal curses, sports parables, and the most commonly used war metaphors.

Mojca Ramšak
Univerza v Ljubljani


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