Life/Death

After reviewing the class lectures and materials for this week, my understanding of the “culture of biomedecine” in our Western society is the way in which we apply medical practices into our society to enhance peoples lives. Our Western culture relies heavily on medications and promotes the use of biomedicine to patients to enhance their life. This promotion of biomedecine is beneficial for pharmaceutical companies and they feed off of that from consumers who are looking to enhance a certain aspect of their life. The patients are labeled as the consumers who use the biomedicalization of medicine to enhance their lives to be the best that they can be. Such enhancements can include sleeping pills for people who suffer from insomnia or dieting pills for people struggling with obesity. We put such emphasis on being healthy and relating that to being successful in life, that it leads to more people wanting to better themselves by taking part in the culture of biomedecine.

Dichotomies are all around us. For me, I believe that a dichotomy is two opposite concepts that have a distinct separation between them. Some examples of dichotomy mentioned in lecture were nature/culture, male/female, and life/death. I chose to analyze life and death. There are many grey areas between life and death that were mentioned during lecture. Some of these grey areas were is the person considered alive if they are hooked up to a respirator and a feeding tube. It all depends on what your view is of life and death. For me, a person is alive if they have a heartbeat and is breathing. A person can be alive, but may be unable to think for themselves or move around. Death is when their heart stops beating and they take their last breath. I think this dichotomy is accepted as logical and natural in western society because although there are some grey areas, for the most part, life and death has a significant distinction between them.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Alison Johnson says:

    I think it is particularly important for clinicians to understand the dichotomy of life and death. When taking into consideration what is alive or what is dead, I think it is very important to note the quality of life. Yes, you can classify something as dead, and something else as alive, but from the viewpoint of a clinician I think there is more to be considered. For example, you could have a completely brain dead individual, but as long as their vital organs are still pumping they could physically be considered alive. I am not a clinician, but from my viewpoint, this individual is not fully alive. If their quality of life is going to be hindered I think it is best to have flexibility between having an “alive” or “dead” individual. I think the dichotomy of life and death is much more complex than we might realize. I agree with this post by Maureen in her statement that there are many grey areas between life and death and also that being considered alive is when a person is able to breath and have a heartbeat. However, I definitely think an individual should be able to have control over what they consider to be “dead or alive.” Like I previously mentioned, an individual should get a say in what their quality of life is going to be like. From a personal perspective, I would not want to live my life out hooked up to a respirator and using a feeding tube just because I was deemed “alive” from a medical standpoint. I think clinicians really need to take in the implications of quality of life when dealing with the dichotomy of life and death.

  2. Krystn Hartner says:

    I think it is extremely important for clinicians to understand the dichotomy of life and death. As stated in the post, there is a significant distinction between this dichotomy and it is easy for clinicians to classify what they are looking at as alive or dead. Alive is when you are living and breathing and death is when all of that stops. However, it sometimes can become more complicated than that. From a clinicians point of view they may consider someone being brain dead or when they go on feeding tubes and cannot do anything for themselves as death. This point of view is one of the reasons why it is complicated at times to understand the dichotomy. If they take being brain dead as death than they may not take care of the patient as well as if they were living. On the contrast, some clinicians may view someone being brain dead as alive and try to fight it so much that they should have just let them die because of how bad the condition was. They knew that they were wasting time and money on trying to save someone that didn’t stand a chance, causing a complication in the life/death dichotomy.

    As I said there are some areas where this dichotomy is fuzzy, but overall it is should be understood by clinicians.

  3. Taylor Cheney says:

    I think it is extremely important for clinicians as well as all other medical professionals to understand the dichotomy of life and death. For most people, life and death are very black and white aspects. Life is when you are physically breathing and your heart is beating, and death is when all of your bodily functions cease to function. However, the dichotomy exists in the grey area in-between the very distinct areas of life and death. As a clinician, they may consider someone dead when they are brain dead, but technically, the patient’s heart may still be beating and they may be still breathing due to respirators and other medical machines such as feeding tubes. Because of this, I see the dichotomy of life and death as really complex. It is especially important for clinicians to be able to define life and death, especially. A person may be technically brain dead, but still be able to stay “alive” due to medical machines breathing for them and making their heart beat. Thousands of dollars rack up from keeping someone on life support, when the fact is, it is only prolonging the moment of death and not improving the life of the patient. There are many different views and grey areas in this dichotomy overall, but I still believe that it is something that should be understood by medical professionals.

  4. Riasia Franklin says:

    As I was going down the list of dichotomies, I found your explanation and topic really interesting. I like the way that u analyzed this dichotomy. The way I would distinguish between someone being alive or dead would kind of be similar to your explanation. Someone is alive if their heart is beating and can breathe, and dead if their heart stops and they can’t breathe anymore. I like the way that you compared the two and showed how they are different from one another. I also believe this dichotomy is natural because most people in this world would be able to tell a difference between if someone is dead or alive. I think it is important for clinicians to understand this important dichotomy because they should have the correct knowledge to tell if someone is making it or actually getting better when sick or hurt. By the clinicians knowing about this dichotomy is may make their jobs easier by knowing what to do and how to handle it in a certain situation that may occur if a patient may look like he or she is dying. The potential implications if they take it for fact would be helpful to them and their involvement with trying to help heal someone to save a life.

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