Life/Death

When it comes to health, biomedicine takes the edge over any other form of thought. With that being said, it is easy to say that the culture of biomedicine is a very important concept. How we view health and how we make decisions about health has formed the culture of biomedicine. Examples of this are evident with a birth control ad as talked about in lecture. Pharmaceutical companies know what to put in the ads to entice people. Knowing the upbeat lifestyle of western society makes it easy for the pills to be advertised to ease symptoms or shorten menstruation to improve quality of life. Another indicator is how a community culturally interprets a hospital. In western society, a hospital is seen as a “factory”. Sick people are sent in, made better, and sent back out to conquer life where as in many other cultures hospitals are viewed as protection for the sick from the outside elements.

Hospitalization can be thought about further in western medicine, branching into many controversial and ethical topics. Since a hospital is thought of in a factory mindset, people are eager to go home and resume normal tasks. Sometimes situations arise where the “factory” cannot produce a healthful product fit to return to normal life. This brings me to my chosen dichotomy, life and death.

Putting ethical reasoning aside, I think this dichotomy is so natural in western society because we place such a high tag on being the best you can be. The idea of the American dream is still flying high and no one really wants to compromise quality of life. Since culture plays a large role, family members and specific individuals are faced with tough decisions. How long to keep a loved one on life support for example. Do they have quality of life? What were the individual’s wishes? Anther good example is if you refuse or accept treatment after being diagnosed with cancer. You know the consequences of not getting treatment, but you also have seen the affects of treatment and how detrimental it can be to quality of life.

Personally I think I also, to some extent, agree with the idea of the American dream. I don’t want to miss out on any opportunities that may come my way but I also wouldn’t deprive myself of health, such as refusing treatment for a serious illness. To me, having that illness is part of the life you are living so you have to make the best of it. I know my attitude towards this comes partially from my parents. Since they were immigrants they want my brother and I to have every opportunity possible and are always telling us to look on the bright side.

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