What should medicine do when it cannot save life?

After reading the article about Sara, It was truly scary to think that someone that has always been healthy from the start when it came to eating right and maintaining their physical exercise  was going through a terrifying cancer. Like any other patient, Sara did try her hardiest to fight cancer for her family and her beautiful child, and the fact that she still wanted to live. However, with all the heavy medication and multiple treatments, it still was not able to save Sara’s life. So what should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

Even though medicine was not able to save Sara’s life, it did prolong her life a little longer than without the medication. Sara would not have been able to make it through all those months if it were not for all those treatments that even though they failed, they had somewhat of a good effect on her, than having no treatment at all. If you think of it this way, the fluid in her lungs would have spread fast all over her body if it were not for the multiple treatments that Sara did.  Also I think that even though medicine can’t save one’s life, it can although help ease the pain a patient is going through during the treatment and throughout their final days as well. For instance, in the end of Sara’s treatment during her final moments when she was in pain, they gave her pain medicine to help relieve the pain even though it would still not help treat the cancer or stop her from dying. During her last few hours Sara was extremely scared of not being able to accept death and having to let go of her life. However, she ended up “letting go”, and that’s when it made me realize why the title was called that and how death is a denying culture plays a role in our lives.




6 thoughts on “What should medicine do when it cannot save life?

  1. You are correct that pain management should be emphasized at the end of life, and palliative care in the final days is very important. Although usually it cannot extend life, it can make the days that are left more bearable. This is the quality versus quantity question about end of life that was discussed in class. Sometimes we hear that some people get worried about becoming addicted to pain medicine; but at the end of life does it really matter as long as the suffering is subsided? If a person develops a tolerance to the medicine then the doctor should just prescribe a different type.
    As you mentioned, I agree that she was afraid to die and the doctors did extended her life. However, she was beyond futility as lung cancer is fatal… eventually she would die. The doctor was feeding her false hope of recovery by giving her daily doses of experimental drugs. In my opinion, this mostly prolonged her suffering. Maybe this is a pessimistic outlook and perhaps optimism is needed at end of life. Perhaps it could even play a role in survival, who knows?

  2. I was extremely scared about how disease and death can affect even the extremely healthy as well! When writing my blog and reading the article, I did not take the time to appreciate medicine’s ability to relieve pain when it cannot save your life so I am glad you emphasized that. In Sara’s situation, I would say that it might have helped to prolong life to see her newborn child for a little while longer, but it must have been bittersweet to do so. Sometimes avoiding the inevitable can make things harder in the end. After reading that article, I too have realized that “letting go” must be accepted whether medicine is involved or not. From the article, would you have gone through all of those months of treatment like Sara did? When faced with the same situation I probably would have, but you would think that it would be harder to let go the longer you hold on the hope of medicine’s ability to prolong life.

  3. It is very admirable that Sara did all that she could in order to prolong her life. When you think about prolonging life, even though you are still dying, it is very scary, but I believe that everybody has their own say and their own opinion. Some people don’t want to live longer than they should have and that if it is gods will then that is it and they should accept it. Yet, who would want to die if there is still so much you can do? If I was in Sara’s situation and I had a newborn child I believe that I would try and do as much as I can to be part of my child’s life. I would want to see my baby grow up for as long as I can and I would try my best to seek the medical help that I need. Yet like I said, deciding to prolong your life is situational.

  4. I like how you tied in the title by coming to your own realization as to what this article was about. I was shocked by the determination of Sara through reading this article because she would not give up. She wouldn’t let the disease control her over her last days and did everything last thing she could for her family to ensure they knew how much she loved them. Our society has become so dependent upon modern medicine that we become furious and confused when we are told something will not be able to fix our problems. She finally came to the realization that there was nothing more anyone or anything could do to cure her sickness and she did as I believe anyone would have done and made the best of her final days. At least the medicine she was administered was able to relax and manage the pain before “letting go.”

  5. I also had a similar response to this prompt. When medicine cannot save your life, it can help ease pain. However, when one knows that no treatment will work I believe that the medications and treatments at that point should be used for the purpose of pain relief in a person’s final months or days or what have you. I do like how you emphasized the fight that Sara had and her reasons for trying all of the treatments that she did. I also like how you emphasized the fact that in the end she did have to let go because in the end her treatments as for anyone else, did not work.

  6. I think that your perperspetive of medicine’s role at the end of our lives is very interesting for many reasons. A lot of others have said that medicine should be used limitedly at the end of our lives, and instead we should focus on just spending our final days in peace, happiness, and with dignity. However, not everyone is able to able accept their fate, even when it is right in front of them. Medicine is just a means for them to combat their fate. It should be up to the patient to decide how they want to use medicine. If they want to alleviate their pain, then they should have all rights to. If they want to use medicine to fight for their lives, then that is their will. On the contrary, if the patient want to use medicine or refuse medicine in order to end their live, that is also their choice. Doctors and others working in medical institutions should just be educational guides to help those who are faced with death and scared make the best decisions for themselves.

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