Life/Death

The “culture of biomedicine” deals with the cultural aspects related to the field of biomedicine. It places importance on the history of biomedicine, as well as the language of biomedical facts and the rites of passage within biomedicine. This is a very important concept because in our society we are no stranger to the subjects of biology, anatomy, chemistry and so on. We’re familiar with doctors and nurses and surgeons. All of these people directly participate in the culture of biomedicine. For example, the rite of passage in the culture of biomedicine would be a doctor enduring their residency. After residency, these doctors experience “rites of incorporation.” This is where they firmly establish their status and role within the society.

The dichotomy I chose was life and death. I think this dichotomy straddles a particularly unstable fence. It all comes down to personal definitions for death and life. I believe that as long as someone’s brain has activity and they can breathe on their own for a period of time they can be considering as alive. I think my views on this dichotomy came from science related backgrounds. Many people base their beliefs in different dichotomies on religion or perhaps something pertaining to their culture. Granted things become like more of a sticky situation when it comes to scenarios involving comas. People almost always have a hard time deciphering their definitions of life and death when it’s questioned in these types of scenarios. When it comes to this dichotomy I tend to lean towards more science based definitions. I think this dichotomy is accepted as logical/ true is western society because we don’t like things being in a “grey area.” We like concrete evidence. We like for things to be cut and dry, one or the other, dead or alive.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Zack Riem says:

    I believe that this is a very important dichotomy and I agree with the way you put it. It is defiantly a person’s decision on what life and death can mean and at what limit they may consider a person to no longer live. Some consider the cessation of brain function as death while others many believe in other limits that signify death. With all the culture mixing and broad spectrum of points of view in the world it is necessary to have a certain understanding that others may look upon the life/death ideal with differing opinion. Being considerate in hard situations when death is a possibility it normally the best way to approach such situations. Some with a closed mind may struggle in situations when the life or death border is in limbo; some consider the aid of machine to be living, while others do not. This leads into a heated debate for when the exact time to consider person dead.
    As you stated the scientific aspect is most likely the best way to approach these types of situations. In my opinion this way to go about this dichotomy, it has the most relevance and clinical applications when it comes to most of the situations that are presented.

  2. Anthony Jurayj says:

    To a health care provider, distinguishing between life and death is an important part of decision making. Obviously you must consider the family and friend’s consideration. When people are dependent on machines or any sort of life support, it is hard to distinguish whether or not that person is still the same. I think when you become dependent on those machines and although your vitals signs may say they are alive, being in a coma or being a vegetable is not anyway anyone wants to live, and it may be a burden for some families and friends to handle. Many people should be satisfied with their full lives, and living full lives, as in being conscious of the experiences they have with their surroundings. When you lose the acknowledgement of those experiences, then you lose life.

    Different cultures with no doubt will have different conceptions of life and death. I think some cultures would think that living to the age of 50 years is a good life, and the average life span is much higher in America. This would mean that people would be more appreciative of the longer life span, or at least more good years of living. Years of living where the patient can actually function and be a part of society.

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