W5 Reflection: Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine is seen as a progression of advancements in the health of people and how we are treated.  Each country has their own medical foundation influenced by certain factors such as income, location, and resources.  How cultures amongst the world handle these continuous findings and new ideas indicates the specific culture of biomedicine practiced by that group.  Since biomedicine is based off of medical advancements, however, cultures are typically compared to westernized ideas.  This is important to observe and understand because like many characteristics of culture, medicine can show a lot about a group of people and how they live.

Life and death can seem quite obvious to be able to identify, but when analyzed further it really is a complicated phenomenon that is still debated on between different viewpoints.  Personally, I believe someone is alive as soon as the sperm begins developing in the egg.  Some may say a person becomes alive much later in the process, but if rephrased as “the beginning of life” rather than “becoming alive”, many would see the binding of the sperm and the egg as a logical standpoint.  I believe someone becomes dead once their body is no longer able to provide consciousness as well as basic bodily needs to survive such as heartbeat, breathing, and the immune system.  This stand on life and death seems to be accepted in America and other westernized nations.  When a woman is pregnant, it is understood that there is life in her womb that she is providing care for before birth.  Also, when a person is no longer responsive and their body gives up on functioning, we treat them as dead and find it acceptable for a burial or to be cremated.

One thought on “W5 Reflection: Life/Death

  1. Hello,

    I think this specific dichotomy of life and death is a very important and much debated topic. Defining life and death medically has been a political rollercoaster for decades, ever since modern medicine has been accepted. The rulings of politicians change from country to country, but their verdicts certainly affect healthcare professionals wherever they are. Like you said, the technical starting point of life is when a sperm fertilizes an egg, but it has long been disputed when an embryo is considered a living person. This distinction is a difficult one to make in regards to abortion and miscarriage, for the professional medical community, and for parents. It is equally hard to make rules on the specifics of death. Many people who are involved in accidents that cause head trauma, or suffer from neurological diseases or disorders, often lose cognitive ability. People who no longer have brain activity, or are in a coma or on a respirator, are often viewed as dead. The distinction of when one is dead or not strains the ethics of health professionals. When these difficult rulings are taken as fact, medical professionals must act in accordance of the law, even though what they must do can sometimes contradict their morals, or their patient’s morals.

Leave a Reply