The role medicine should play in death

David_-_The_Death_of_Socrates

As a society, we have made great advances in the medical field. Progress in medicine and technologies have not only made it possible for people to live much longer, but also delay death when it seems imminent. As a result, our understanding of death has changed a lot over the years. Death is no longer seen as a natural process that every human being will eventually go through. For the most part, death is seen as a failure of the medical system to keep someone alive – regardless of the critical situation that person might himself/herself to be in. Medicine has become so efficient at treating people that often, we forget that it can fail. Therefore, we often we refuse to address this question: what should medicine do when it cannot save our lives?

This is, of course, a very subjective question. The answer to that question should not become a law abiding everyone. It is essentially a matter of “quality over quantity”. Would somebody prefers to live a long period of time miserably? Or, would he or she rather live a short, happy life? Personally, I feel like, if medicine cannot save someone’s life, then it should at least make the last moment of it better. One thing is pretty certain, no matter how advanced medicine gets, it will never be able to stop death. No matter how far the drugs, the medical equipment, and the doctor are able to push the limit of life, death will always catch up to us. Therefore, medicine should focus a little more on how to let people die. This seems rather like an oxymoron, given that the primary role of medicine is to keep us alive. However, death is a part of living; not just something that comes after it. If medicine cannot save one’s life, at least it should make dying easier.

 In all aspects of life, people seem to value quality over quantity. For instance, most people would rather have a few, but good and reliable friends, than having a bunch of dishonest ones. Similarly, most people would rather be pain free even for a short amount of time, than live a long life of suffering – in both cases, death is inevitable. So when it is clear that medicine cannot save people, then it should make the end of life more enjoyable, not only for the person who’s dying, but also for the family that will have to deal with the loss of someone dear.

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One thought on “The role medicine should play in death

  1. After reading I find that I completely agree with your argument. Death cannot be avoided in any way. Although science and medicine can push the limits for how long we can prolong life, there is no way a person can completely avoid death. Another point I agree with you on is your idea that quality of life should be valued over quantity of life. If medicine cannot save someones life it should at least reduce their suffering and improve the quality of their last days. This would allow a person to become more comfortable and accept their death more easily. This also makes it easier on families of patients because they do not have to watch their loved ones suffer because of the unbearable amount of pain that they have to endure.

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