Life and Death

Biomedicine is medicine based on biological facts and that study of anatomy and physiology of the human body. Biomedicine is the main form of medical approach in the west. The culture of biomedicine is studied by anthropologists and evaluated in three sectors: institutional history, language of biomedicine, and ritual of biomedicine. Under institutional history of biomedicine, they study how facts and truth change overtime. How social values are perceived, either as natural or scientific facts are studied in the language of biomedicine. Lastly, the ritual of biomedicine studies the patients and healthcare providers and their interactions with biomedicine overtime. The culture of biomedicine is very important in understanding all things related to biomedicine. Understanding the culture makes the practice specific to a society or individual.

To me dichotomy is weighing two concepts that are opposite from one another. It stems from very controversial aspects or viewpoints. Based on ones culture, a certain illness may be looked at as a blessing or a sign of power. While in other cultures it may be a sign of unhealthiness. For example, obesity as explained in previous lectures. In some African cultures, being over weight is a sign of wealth. However, in the United States it is very unhealthy and leads to many diseases.

I chose analyze the dichotomy of life and death. This dichotomy is very controversial in the culture of biomedicine. Life and death is defined based on an individual’s views of what they consider each is. For instance, the topic of abortion, some people may consider the fetus to be a life while others believe that birth is what defines life. On the other hand, if a patient is in a coma, they are considered brain dead. To some people that person is dead, while to others that person is still alive since they still have a beating heart. The dichotomy of life and death can be different base on particular views and cultures.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Valencia Smith says:

    In your post you talked about the dichotomy of life and death. I think that it is very important for clinicians to understand the aspect of life and death because of the many different views on this particular one. With the variety of cultures and beliefs, many people look at life and death very differently. I like how your examples of abortion and a coma demonstrated them very well. Views on these subjects in particular will determine how a patient would want treatment with his or health to be done.

    Clinicians however, need to strongly understand that things may not be black and white to patients. Yes, with all of the training they have they may look at someone on life support being “technically” dead because they are unable to breathe on their own but when you put yourself in the shoes of a husband, or child, and imagine how they feel about their loved one, it gets more complicated and complex from a dichotomy standpoint. This life and death dichotomy, along with many others can be simple or complicated simply depending on how you view it and what your beliefs are. It should just really be taken seriously by people in health professions.

  2. Kelly Cummins says:

    I picked this post discussing the dichotomy of life and death because I find this topic very interesting. We see this topic discussed in the media and it has become an extremely hot topic for doctors these days. Sometimes this discussion between doctors, patients, and their families gets brought to courts to interpret using law.

    I think this topic is extremely important to understand because it entails the main job of a doctor- to prolong life and prevent death. The quality of a person’s life is also important to take into account because many people have different opinions on if death could be possibly better than continuing a very low quality of life. Legally, we have to decide whether we should give families to make this choice when the patient can no longer do it themselves, and if we should give patients this choice if they are able.
    It very difficult to have an opinion on these choices when I have not personally experienced a near death experience nor have I had a family member in a coma where they could not make the choice to continue on life support or not.

    If a doctor chooses to look at this dichotomy as purely black or white, they lose the reality of life and their relationship with patients. They need to understand that many people find quality of life very important and this is essential to take into account when faced with this dichotomy.

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