Analysis Of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal

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The practice of medicine is both beautiful and dangerous. It is known for its power of healing and innovation. However, it can also cause damage by medicalizing and simplifying very sensitive, complex topics. In Being Mortal, Atul Gawande explores the nature and process of death, including the precious, limited time leading to it. Gawande gives light to the fact that because of pharmaceuticals and modern technologies, people in their last stages of life often focus on hope, rather than recognizing the bitter reality. Also, Gawande describes the importance of different care facilities, such as hospice, and their role in helping the critically ill. Unfortunately, it often seems that the focus is not on the ill and their wishes, but rather the…show more content…
First, discussions about end-of-life circumstances are unpleasant, hard, and often awkward. Instead, people tend to focus on the less probable circumstance of a treatment or cure. When confronted with giving the prognosis of terminal illness to a patient, Gawande states, “discussing a fantasy was easier- less emotional, less explosive, less prone to misunderstanding- than discussing what was happening before my eyes” (Gawande 169). Even as a medical professional, Gawande struggles with conversations about death and would rather focus on hopeful, yet less probable outcomes. Because of societal constructions and natural human response, the topic of death is avoided when possible, even if the subject of digression (i.e. experimental treatment or cure) is very unlikely to…show more content…
Therefore, considerations of death do not fit well into the mindset of a medical professional. One could argue that in order for a physician to embrace death, they must admit defeat, but doctors and other medical personnel are not programed to accept defeat. They are driven to succeed. However, there is one universal truth for mankind: to be born is to be mortal. There is no way for medicine to avoid death and it seems logical that medical professionals should focus as much care on dying as they do on healthy living. Dying well means different things to different people, but it is important to recognize that the additional time is not necessarily a good thing. More often than not, buying time requires enduring costly, horrific procedures that extend suffering. By electing to pursue miraculous cures, most are not extending life as we know it, but merely delaying death. Medical professionals are trusted by patients. Therefore, they must understand these distinctions and be prepared to speak clearly and honestly about the subject of death and illness. I think that they should communicate without giving false hope. I feel that this could be better accomplished by better equipping doctors to deal with the realities of terminal illness. This would require more training in the field of palliative medicine and geriatrics. Physicians should be trained how and when

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