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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Doctors die with grace and dignity

Most non-medical people develop a false belief that modern medicine can prolong the quantity of days a person will live, and that "doing everything" to prolong life will result in a high likelihood of a good quality of life thereafter.

For this reason, I think that every person should spend a minimum of six weeks shadowing a respiratory therapist, nurse, or doctor. Doing so would cause people to learn three things:
  1. Everybody dies
  2. Death does not always come easy
  3. Bad things happen to good people
  4. You cannot take the risk out of life
Everybody dies.  As recently as the turn of the 20th century most people dealt with death on a regular basis, as the life expectancy was not that great.  Today, however, thanks to better medicine, people are living longer. This has made it so people don't see death often, and so they develop this false perception that people don't die, or that they will live forever.  

Death does not always come easy.  So they develop this false perception that modern medicine can keep them alive longer.  Sure we can do that. We can intubate you and put you on a ventilator.  We can put a pacemaker to keep your heart beating. We can artificially feed you.  We can clean your bottom. But you may not like the quality of your life once we start doing all of this. 

Bad things happen to good people.  You can be the best Christian in the world and still get sick and die young.  Yes, there is truth to the song, "Only the good die young."  It happens.  

You cannot take the risk out of life.  There's a serious effort in this nation to get people to eat healthy, exercise, get in shape, and lose weight.  Surely there are people who don't take care of themselves and end up as regular patients in hospitals and nursing homes.  Still, there are many people live unhealthy lives who live long lives, and there are people who live perfectly healthy lives who still die young.  So, no matter how much we can try, you cannot take the risk out of life.  You will have 41 year old otherwise healthy men get lung cancer.  It happens. 

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