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Our unrealistic attitudes about death

January 22, 2014

So often in medicine we push the boundaries of what the human body can do.  Every time we advance medicine we increase the age people can live to.  Advances in medicine are good but when they are used inappropriately they can be very bad.  At what point is enough enough?  Who gets to decide?  This is a very challenging question to answer which is why most Doctor’s and Nurse’s will follow the wishes of the family (based purely on emotions and often not reality), rather than make the hard decisions to support the family through their grief.

I have seen this as a nurse and questioned the interventions I was asked to carry out.  When giving the 92nd unit of blood to the 92 year old woman, I tend to wonder whether we are even making a difference.  Honestly we are just delaying the inevitable.  Why as a society can’t we learn to accept that medicine is used to cure, treat or manage illnesses not to make the body function artificially with devices and medicines?

I know for certain I do not want to be kept on this earth longer than my body wants to allow.  If I begin to fail beyond reasonable means, leave me alone and let me rest in peace.  That is what nature intended.


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