What Should Medicine Do When it Cannot Save Your Life?

After reading Letting Go by Atul Gawande, my perception of how to live the end of life completely changed.  Types of medication such as therapy and antibiotics are not always affected. Death can happen unexpectedly and sometimes medication is not always the best way to look at as a survival mechanism. It is hard to think that any type of medicine may not save a life but sometimes medication can make one’s survival rate longer. If medicine could not save my life, I would want medication to ease my pain and give me as much time as I can to make some last memories with those I love.

Sara Monopoli had no idea that death was around the corner. Before her discovery of cancer, she was healthy, had a wonderful husband and was going to give birth to a beautiful baby. Like any mother, she along with her family made sure that she would have any opportunity she can to prolong her life through medication. Reading her story made me think that Sara medicated herself to death. She had high hopes although her cancer was terminal. She seemed as if she was in denial the whole time. If I was in her shoes, I would have probably done the same thing. Not knowing about what hospice could do for her made me think of how unethical it was for the doctor to just keep encouraging her to have high hopes and assume that the medication was going to help her. The stories that described hospice care showed that hospice provided comfort and medication to relieve pain. Hospice creates a hospitable environment and the same amount of care the doctor gave her but with the intention that Sara was going to die. I believe that hospice would have given her family a reality check, give Sara a few more weeks to live, and a better bereavement for the family when she dies.

Medicine should do two things for a person who is dying and cannot be saved. Medicine should relieve any pain that a person has. When a person is in pain, they are unable to function and think about other things besides the pain. Relieving pain can give them the ability to socialize with loved ones and be comfortable. Medicine should also extend life as much as possible. Making memories with my family and friends is most important to me and others if they were going to die. Overall, medicine should not be looked at as a miracle life saver for those who are terminally ill. Providing comfort and making memories with loved ones is the best medicine for those who are dying. Image

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One thought on “What Should Medicine Do When it Cannot Save Your Life?

  1. I agree with you on the statement you made about how reading the article changed your perspective on the effectiveness of medicine. I, too was surprised to find out how much more beneficial hospice care can be at end of life. You also raised a very interesting point on the ethics of a doctor prolonging life even if it is at the cost of a painful death for his/her patient. Although I do understand that they are doctors and it is their job, how ethical is it to encourage someone to go through painful treatment that will only cause perhaps a painful death.

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