Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine is a range of topics that all go into providing a patient with medicine to alleviate an illness. The culture can fluctuate and depends on things such as social status, political opinions, environment, genetics, and more. All these aspects are important in biomedicine because it sets a path for medicine. For example a hospital can run as a business, school, and treatment center all at the same time. How the culture changes depends on the environment and those who are taking place in the system. It is important to identify the culture of biomedicine you are participating in to use it to its full potential.

I think dichotomies are very interesting because they explain that in the absence of one object, the other must be present. This is shown in a Life/Death situation for a medical standpoint. However life and death are not so black and white to many people, especially those whom are doctors or religious individuals. For example in class prochoice was mentioned. A person is either living or dead, almost all people can agree on this. However, when is a person classified living? Some people feel a person is alive from the time of conception, others when the baby is a few weeks old, yet some say only after the baby is no longer in the womb. This can also be said for when a person is dying. Does life stop when a person is no longer breathing on his or her own behalf? When a person is brain dead? Or perhaps even when people can no longer even provide for themselves.

I believe for the life and death dichotomy a life starts and stops with the beating of the heart. A life form should be considered alive when a heart is still beating regardless of its other physical or mental conditions. This belief probably comes from my family and religion. Personal experiences have shaped when a life is worth living and when life has stopped. There are ranges in quality of life that many people do not want to deal with, but life still does exist. I think many people in the western society share this idea because our advances in technology can take a grim looking situation and change it around for the better. Thus life and death are 2 very distinct things and life and death cannot exist all in one.

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  1. Delisa Quayson says:

    I never quiet thought of dichotomies like you’ve explained it but that sums it up perfectly. The idea that in the absence of one the other must be present. I find that to be definitely true with life and death. No matter how different people define it, there is only the option of life and death and no in-between. I agree with you in that life starts when a heart starts beating but since the brain controls all organ function so I would consider a person dead when their brain stops functioning. Even if modern medicine and all its technology can keep a persons’ heart beating.
    This dichotomy should be accepted as fact especially in biomedicine because it is the basis of the field. The treatment people receive is given to them because their doctors want them to get better, to stay alive and hopefully be healthy. All the efforts professionals put into their work is to keep people alive and keep them from dying. Our culture values the living more then the dead. We keep the dead alive in our memories, we celebrate their life. There’s a popular saying YOLO (You Only Live Once) that encourages people to take risks, enjoy the moment and live life to the fullest before death comes.

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