According to Shapiro, the clinical gaze strips people of their wholeness and leaves them feeling as if who they are is defined by their illness (Shapiro).
Medical anthropologist Tess Han writes:
“This ‘medical gaze’ is a taught, learned, and institutionalized way of looking and making sense of the body by doctors around the world. It doesn’t take into consideration the patient’s sociological context because doctors are reframing patients as merely another file or case to look at.”
Foucault (as cited in Shapiro, 2002) identified the professional’s “clinical gaze” as characteristically detached and objectifying, gathering specialized information about people beyond what the people themselves can provide. By implication, “whatever the gaze cannot detect falls outside the realm of important knowledge” (Shapiro, 2002, p. 163).