Letting Go

            What should medicine do when it cannot save your life? When I originally read this question, I wasn’t sure where to begin or even what to think. First thought was; are our lives really at the hands of medicine? Is medicine really what prevents death or does it prolong “life” while you are in and out of hospitals with the medical bills soaring through the roof?

I feel as if the biggest factor in dealing with medical procedures and medicine is the family’s financial obligation. The United States may have some of the best health care in the world but we are very far from the top when discussing medical costs. When a patient is informed that treatment will no longer improve their life, is it worth it to stretch your life out and put the burden and heartache on your loved ones. To most, I believe it would be worth the stress to spend as much time with their loved ones as possible. Personally, I believe medicine should only be administered in those situations when it is 100% able to improve one’s life. If someone is terminally ill and medicine and technology are the only things maintaining life than I believe medicine is only interfering with the natural ways of life and should not be given to the patient.

When you’re young and healthy you don’t take time out of your day to think about what you would like to happen if you were in a serious accident, so you may have a set mind state now until something tragic happens to you. Everyone has their own opinions on whether they would like their lives to be sustained in a vegetative state on life support or if they would prefer to be taken of and pass away peacefully to end the pain. I believe that every individual is entitled to their own choice of what treatments they receive to sustain life but are you really living if you can’t do one daily activity by yourself? You can’t get up to go to the restroom, so you go on yourself. You can’t feed yourself, so they shove a tube down your throat. Is that really living? I believe our society has become too dependent on medications to keep us going instead of living out a natural healthy life with a good diet and exercise. It’s safe to say everyone would like to die as peacefully as possible and if medicine can ease a person’s mind from pain and depression than I think towards the end of one’s life, medicine is beneficial in making one’s final days as comfortable as possible.

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“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go” – Hermann Hesse

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2 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. I think you have made some valid points. Not being able to do things independently would make me feel like a burden to everyone else. I enjoy my privacy, therefore I would not think having someone take me to the bathroom or be fed on a feeding tube would be living like you mentioned. With the advancements in medicine, it seems doctors “play God” by prolonging the inevitable. In my opinion, I feel we should try to focus medicine by keeping our elderly comfortable while they go through the death process, rather than try to sustain their life on a ventilator or feeding tube. In the words of the title, when is it time to let go? I think if they lived a long fulfilled life, then most elders should be less afraid of death, and would choose the path of palliative care to help ease them from this life.

  2. I agree with some of the points you made.When it comes to end of life decision, each individual should really have the right to say how he or she wants it to happen. No one should be able to force treatment on a patient who refuses it. Conversely, medicine should do whatever it takes to save someone’s life if that is the person’s wish.Where I disagree with you is the reference to nature; I don’t think death is “natural” unless it happens while one is asleep. Humans have altered the “natural ways of life” so often that this phrase should probably never be used. Doctors have saved people that were not supposed to live; we have people travelling in giant “bird-looking” metal, thousands of feet above the grounds. Those are all examples of the ways we have interfered with what is considered to be natural. So if someone wants to go through the trouble of being hooked up to several machines, then so be it. I don’t think that is interfering with nature at all.

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