nternal or external resources to cope with stressors.” They argue that vulnerable people do not have the capacity to react to possible stressors and thus have a high risk of harms or losses. Rogers (1997) on the other hand defines vulnerability as “susceptibility to health problems, harm or neglect.” He argues that vulnerability is used to mean a certain level of danger or threat to the person, and maybe concrete reality-based or a feared threat. From these two definitions it is possible to note that vulnerability is a propensity to harm and makes people helpless, making them need some form of protection. Mr Brown, the subject of this paper is vulnerable because of his mental condition and his inability to make decisions and thus needs protection.
In defining vulnerability, the term can be viewed in two dimensions. The first is vulnerability as a noun (etic) and the second is vulnerability as an adjective (emic). In the first perspective, vulnerability is taken to mean susceptibility to or possibility of harm and is thus externally evaluated by and individual who sees another as in need of protection from harm (Spiers, 2000). The second perspective, emic, vulnerability is viewed as a state of being threatened and a feeling of fear of harm. This is internally evaluated by the individual as a result of experiences that makes the individual feel vulnerable. Etic vulnerability has received wide scholarly attention in the medical field as well as in other fields. Emic vulnerability is less explored in the medical field (Spiers, 2000).
This paper seeks to explore the issue of vulnerability through the eyes of a patient named Brown. It will look at the factors that made the individual to be considered vulnerable by looking at how and why he was feeling vulnerable. It will also look at practices and experiences that made the individual vulnerable before looking at the ways in which he could be protected from being vulnerable.
The first reason that made him