Is medicine really the art of healing?

Holding Hands with Elderly Patient

“The word medicine is derived from the Latin word ars medicina, meaning the art of healing.” (Medicine)

Medicine has numerous duties. It replaces what the body is lacking, it fights off infections and in some cases like, Sara Monopoli’s, medicine prolongs the death process. Because everyone’s immune system is different, medicine can speed up the recovery process, make little or no improvements in a patient’s health, or even have harmful effects on the body.

I honestly feel that medicine is a hypocrite. As the art of healing, medicine should be kind to the body, instead it has several side effects that can make a patient suffer more. The doctors hope that the medicine will extend your life; however, if your illness is fatal then what is the point of taking it? Why suffer more and longer when you already know how it is going to end?

“In ordinary medicine, the goal is to extend life. We’ll sacrifice the quality of your existence now—by performing surgery, providing chemotherapy, putting you in intensive care—for the chance of gaining time later. Hospice deploys nurses, doctors, and social workers to help people with a fatal illness have the fullest possible lives right now.” (Letting Go)

I support Hospice and their goal to enhance the quality of life and make sure that you are comfortable during the death process. I think it is ironic that Hospice does “nothing”, but at the same time gives the patient a sense of serenity. I think that’s in fact the best thing a patient could have. Hospice care provides the emotional support and spiritual assets that there is a lack of in the hospital units. There is someone available for you 24 hours, seven days a week as well. That is what medicine should do. It should relax the mind and ease the pain. It should be working to keep you at ease; there should be no suffering. I think doctors sugar coat the severity of situations and allow you to believe that these drugs are your best solution. These drugs can cause serious rashes, kidney and liver failure, clotting problems, and even death if combined with certain medications. Why would you want to live like that?

“Medicine.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2013. Web. 07 Oct. 2013.

Gawande, Atul. “Letting Go.” The New Yorker. N.p., 02 Aug. 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2013.

“Hospice Care-Topic Overview.” WebMD. WebMD, 29 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.


3 thoughts on “Is medicine really the art of healing?

  1. I liked that you gave the derivation of the word medicine because it shows that in fact medicine does not always heal. It can make a person worse and it makes you wonder if going through medicinal treatments are really worth it because they do not always in fact “heal”. I totally agree with the quote that you mentioned, that medicine gives you more time for later. It may in fact lengthen your time but it doesn’t mean that the time is well spent or comfortably preferred. Nowadays it seems the focus of the practice of medicine is to do whatever possible to save a person’s life, when really what we need to do is adopt a method of accepting death and enhancing it so that it is peaceful and horrible.

  2. I believe you brought up an interesting agreement when you said that medicine is a hypocrite. Although the overall goal of medicine is to heal, many times it can bring more suffering. This idea really made me think about the whole treatment process. The point of using medicine is to heal, but what if it doesn’t? Why is the medicine still prescribed to the patients? Medicine can relieve suffering and also prolong life. However, death is inevitable. We are all going to die anyway, so what’s the point in prolonging it? In my opinion, prolonging it can be beneficial. We get a chance to live longer to say our goodbyes.

  3. I enjoyed the context to your argument. What stands out to me is the way you illustrated medicine should give us ease and serenity. Yes, why not have this as our treatment for death? It is a good concept to highlight hospice and the facilitation it evokes by doing “nothing”. Although nothing is being withheld the comfort and 24 hour care and support is a wonderful treatment in regards to preparing for death. I liked how you brought up these points and how medicine sometimes causes a more painful reaction in the death process.Also, I want to add medicine can do us good and it has. We have had breakthroughs in order to advance what was unknown before, and as time goes by the search for further advancements will take place. In the end it comes to choice and the importance we make on what we want to be our end of life wishes.

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