I think that all categorization and models break down with enough analysis... our human understanding of the universe is ultimately quite poor. We stumble in the dark. We stare at shadows on the wall of a cave.
But. We can try.
The social model works for me largely because medicine has failed; there seems to be little to nothing that medicine can do for my pain and fatigue. There are no medicines beyond caffiene that treat fatigue; and I've tried many many things for pain with little benefit. What helps me most are lifestyle interventions: resting a lot, essentially. Reducing my stress way, way down. Very gentle exercise. And when I read about the social model and disability activism I feel validated, comforted, more secure. I feel my world become wider. I feel a connection to others.
Trying to pursue medical interventions feels like exercise in failure. I do go to the doctor but mostly it's to make sure nothing worse is happening to me, rather than to try and get better.
I do think that most disabled people visit the doctor and believe in the medical model to an extent: we have to deal with doctors and providers to get needed medicines and therapies. We must believe in them as a matter of survival.
I'm trained as a scientist and I worked in medicine for a long time. I understand the limits and the benefits of this realm.
What I don't see enough of, is the medical field embracing-- or even knowing about-- the social model. It would be so interesting to see what could happen if practioners listened to disabled people and learned from our expertise.
When I worked in a hospital I noticed that universal design was (perhaps ironically) apparent there, because injured and ill people are normal in a hospital setting. So there is abundant signage. People are encouraged to use the elevators, and the elevators are big enough to fit wheelchairs and gurneys. There are places to sit and rest at the ends of corridors. Doctors offices, on the other hand, even my pain clinic (!) still seem comitted to using bright fluorescent lights. And of course the standards are different for staff versus patients, even though staff memebers certainly may be disabled as well.
--You don't have to choose between the medical and social model
--The medical world could stand to learn some things from the social model and from activists