End of Life Responsibility


I believe that as individuals we do have the responsiblity of end of life decisions.The preferences that each individual would choose are likely to be different  but everyone has the responsibility to decide what options they would like to have. AS individuals we have the responsibility to decide who in the event of our inability to make decisions for ourselves is responsible for what happens next. I believe that each individual should have a health care directive. I believe that having this directive makes them responsible for the way that they ultimately leave this life. The burden of their care is eased with a directive. I believe that the patient’s family and friends also have a responsbilibity to talk to one another about the choices that will have to be made in the event of a life altering illness or accident. Families should have open dialogue about these issues so that as the article talked about family members are not fighting at the patients bedside and throwing coffee pots at one another. 

i also believe that as patients and family members ofsomeone who is being treated we should question the health care providers. Even if you feel that the information was clearly presented by the provider there is no harm in asking additional questions. The family member and the patien may not understand fully the proceedures and suggestions offered by the provider. However, depending on who the patient is and what background they come from they may never fully understand what the health care provider is telling them. This however, should not deter the patient or their loved ones from asking questions about the treatment. There are things that all of us may not fully uderstand and we cannot hope to increase our knowlege base if we do not try to comprehend the information presented. 


What should medicine do when it cannot save your life?

The answer to the question “what should  medicine do when it cannot save your life?” is in my opinion is highly individualized. I do not believe there is one correct path that medicine should take when someone inevitably is going to die. Each person reacts to treatments and medicines differently so there cannot be one specific answer to how a person’s illness can be handled. Not to mention the fact that there are so many different illnesses that have different pathology. Those in the medical field cannot make the decision alone. The medical field has a responsiblity to do what is best for their patient but sometimes what they have to offer is just not enough. The medical field I believe does the best of their ability to do what they can for people with the information that they have about the particular illness that they are treating. I believe that while the medical field does what they can for people that the patient themselves also have a responsibility to do what is best for themselves and their loved ones. This personalized decision that the patient makes is difficult in all situations whether the treatment works or doesn’t.

The story of Sara’s cancer is a very good example of how individualized medical decision can be. Sara’s family had to decide how to proceed not only in treating the cancer but the attitude they had about treatment and what impact each decision was going to have on their infant daughter. I feel that Sara’s story is one of bravery. She chose to endure treatments that were harsh on her body that would hopefully give her more time with her daughter. Sara and her husband had a good outlook on the situation by not focusing on the prognosis and how bad the statistics could be but by focusing on being positive and trying to have a good outlook for their daughter. I feel very deeply for the struggle this family had to go through with due to my own families personal experiance that was in a way very similar to the story of Sara. My cousin Kelli, also diagnosed with cancer while pregnant endured a struggle with treatments that would not free her body from cancer but prolong the life she had left so she could spend the remainder of her days with her son Carter. She lived a total of 14 months after her diagnosis and was able to see her son turn one. 

These stories of cancer show that however great the treatment may be sometimes it doesn’t align with their bodies or the pathology of the illness. The medical field in these two instances I believe did the best they could possibly offer these two women. Their efforts to save them from the illness was just met with an opponent to which they were unable to defeat with the technology provided to them. Medicine is in a a unique position to take each and every case by specific case to decide how to proceed. As highly advanced as our medicine has come I do not believe that there will come a day when medicine can completely irradicate every illness and stop inevitable death. 

Grey’s Anatomy

The TV show that I believe does a good job illustrating how death is protrayed in the media is the show Grey’s Anatomy. The clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq4jCeEDpA0 is of the scenes of George’s accident and how the character’s deal with the situation. The beginning of the video is a pretty instense due to the nature of his accident so if you just want to view the reactions of the characters skip to 3:24.  This television show is useful because it shows the complexity of the issues revovling medical care and the issues that those involved in treating patients.  Grey’s Anatomy does a good job in their representation of the issue of death  the believability of the characters reactions to this traumatic event of their co-workers death. Each of the characters has a different reaction to George’s accident and his death. These indivdual reactions is useful in protraying that everyone has individual experiances with death and that there is great variance in diversity among people. Some of the characters were in denial about the identity of “John Doe” and others were horrified by the reveal of his true identity. Emotions revovling the issue of death are very complex. Each character had an intial reaction to George’s accident and their emotions evolved throughout their grieving process which had only begun.  This episode of George’s death does deal slightly with the issue of America being a “death denying culture.” At one point during the episode there was a denial that the “John Doe” was actually George. No one wanted to believe that it was their beloved co-worker who was lying in that hospital bed. Grey’s Anatomy showed that there are many sides to the issues of death and none of them are easily disentangled from one another. Each issue and indivudual reaction converges together and is the reason why most media protrayals of death are not illustrated as well as this show did with this character’s death.