W5 Reflection: Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine explains health in terms of biology.  Biomedicine also highlights the importance of learning the body structures in order to treat illnesses and maintain health.  A patient’s culture is very important and it should be understood and taken seriously because different cultures believe in different medicine methods.  The culture of biomedicine refers to the history, language and customs of biomedicine.  This is important because biomedicine is built off of facts and science and obtains authority from claiming to be neutral from cultures of people.  The article that discussed the topic involving operating rooms; it reviewed how different rituals are done before surgeries happen, that shows how a different type of cultural belief in biomedicine can effect the patient’s health.  The dichotomy that I chose to reflect on is life and death.  A dichotomy is defined as a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities.  Dichotomy can most simply be said as life being considered someone who is living and with a pulse, regardless of their state of health, and death being someone who is no longer with us and is without a pulse and can not be revived.  To relate to this topic, my grandfather who was diagnosed with level 4 cancer was sick for 6 months and only got worse regardless of the treatments he was receiving.  Before his final 4 days, two different doctors spoke with our family about his situation, one American and one Arabic.  The American doctor straight forward said there is not much you can do, the man is “dying” and you guys need to decide whether to keep him on machines even though he is not responsive, doesn’t eat, doesn’t move, or talk.  The Arabic doctor said he is “pretty much dead” and you can no longer keep his body/soul suffering like this, it is hard letting go of a loved one, but it is also not right to have someone on machines being tortured like this.  We already knew what decision to make after trying everything we can to treat his cancer, but doctors from different cultures see biomedicine differently, it can somewhat change the family members’ minds in regards of what actions to make.  I believe that life/death in the Western society is accepted as a natural dichotomy, because despite the variety of opinions, life and death are still complete opposite.  There cannot be one with the other no matter how this topic is viewed.

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