I believe that the primary purpose of medicine is to save lives and cure infections or diseases; saving the life of the patient should be the medical personnel’s primary goal. That being said, there should also be a big emphasis on alleviating suffering and pain during their passing. During the period of time in which the patient is awaiting their imminent fate, the medical care that the patient receives should be less focused on finding a cure, and more on making the patient as comfortable as possible until they pass. After reading the story of Sara Monopoli, it is possible to see, despite the best efforts of medical personal and the treatments they administered, that sometimes it is in the best interest of the patient and the patient’s family to only treat the symptoms of a sickness, and not the actual cause. Treating for things like pain and nausea can make the patient feel more at ease during the time of their passing. Looking at Sara, we can see that when doctors treated for the cancer, despite knowing that, in reality, the treatments would not have been likely to save her, they only made her feel worse and could have added to shortening her life. Perhaps a better procedure would have been to, as she often expressed, to treat her from home the entire time. What Sara really could have used was hospice care, so that she could experience being a mother longer. To me, this is what medicine should do when it cannot save you. It should make things easier on a patient and the patient’s family during end of life. Treating from something as simple as pain can dramatically change a patients spirit and outlook and then, by extension, the outlook of the family members. Because they already have to deal with the heavy burden of the inevitability of death, why should that burden be heavier with the addition of pain when medicine can alleviate it? Additionally, simply treating the symptoms can be cheaper than trying to treat the cause. The article spoke of how expensive the cancer treatments can be and even though some can have good results for others, there is no guarantee that they treat every patient. So treating for the symptoms and reducing the cost of care for the patient can possibly further alleviate a patients suffering by taking some of the financial strain off of loved ones. This can make the patient feel less like a burden to family members and can put their mind more at ease during end of life. These are many benefits medicine can have on a patient when it is unable to save their life.


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