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A Piece of My Mind
October 20, 2015

When Accommodation Gets Complicated

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
  • 2School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
JAMA. 2015;314(15):1567-1568. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5978

“Incredibly considerate and incredibly insulting at the same time.” This is how a woman describes the expanded chairs in the waiting room of the bariatric clinic. Though inanimate objects, these chairs seem somehow animate: capable of provoking incredible consideration and insult at the same time. This woman is not describing the hospital administrators who purchased the chairs nor the designers from whose imaginations they sprung. Instead, she refers to the chairs directly, as if it were they doling out insults and praises in turn. In her experience of them, this is precisely what they do.

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