Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine is how we as a culture treat biomedicine and how biomedicine influences different aspects of our culture. Generally, in western culture, biomedicine is treated as a universal truth and is thought of as being more effective and sound than other approaches to medicine, such as holistic treatments or faith healing. It is also viewed as being separate from our culture and separate from human influence, however, biomedicine is influenced greatly by our culture. For instance, people in western culture have begun to do more investigation and research on their own instead of automatically believing whatever their doctor says as they did previously by using internet sites like WebMD and others to do their investigation. This is an important concept because by understanding how biomedicine is influenced and influences our culture, we can further understand why biomedicine is the way it is.

My personal view on the dichotomy of life and death is that life begins between conception and birth and that death begins when either the heart stops or the brain stops functioning. These views are partially based on how important I believe organ donation is and organ donation cannot be made possible without people willing to donate their organs should they become brain dead. Brain death occurs when the brain stops functioning and the person suffering from brian death must be put on life support for them to continue to survive. Organ donation is only possible when an individual is brain dead because blood must continue to flow through the vessels to the organs in order for them to keep from decaying and to be viable for organ donation. Without organ donors, many people would have their lives cut short because of failing organs. I believe life begins between conception and birth because, though a baby may not be born yet, as they are growing and developing in the womb, they are still technically a living being. I believe this dichotomy is accepted as true in western society because of our beliefs influenced by biomedicine.

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  1. Ashley Webb says:

    I think this fairly basic and completely necessary for a clinician to understand life and death. As the clinician is responsible for avoid death and enriching life, they are definitely aware of this dichotomy and should be at their core of their understanding. Taking this for granted my leave someone who cannot live an able life and continue on happy, if we consider life and death as spectrum where death is the end of many vital functions of the body. For example a clinician should find a way to try and make life better for someone with a debilitating disease by helping them alleviate major symptoms that would otherwise affect their lives in a negative way. On the other hand, and the most obvious, would be that the clinician should not be readily accepting of death and should try to combat it for the sake of the patient they are tending to. They should try to resuscitate, administer adrenaline, do what they medically can to stave off the nefarious effects of inching ever so closer to death.
The only other way I can think of changing this dichotomy is to further expand it further the understanding of both sides. We can hold on to life and death but look for insight as to what really constitutes life and death. Life should be about living a meaningful and fruitful life, the goal would be to give the patient as much autonomy and reign on their life as possible, not just simply health, but choices that can affect their life as a whole. While death can be series of steps closer to the finality of complete bodily failure. Many patients could only live life at the grace of machines but we should not consider them had they not been able to have something keeping them alive. Any extension of life should be considered just that, and extension of life. And for those reasons, I think we should deepen our understanding of what it is to live and how close we can come to death before it being irreversible.

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