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Being Mortal


An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life...
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Discuss Being Mortal by Atul Gawande:
What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

Created: 09/01/17

Replies: 14

Posted Sep. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1559

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What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened in our culture? How can we shift to a more humane, compassionate approach to mortality?


Posted Sep. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 101

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

Yes I agree. Probably it has occurred mostly because of lawsuits. Put wishes in writing and have them binding so doctors don't feel like they have to do useless surgeries and treatments.


Posted Sep. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 34

RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I agree with that statement100%. I have watched my parents and my friends parents age into their 70s and 80s, and some have them are alive but not living. They are living day to day on painkillers with very poor quality of life. I have been saying for years that I wish in addition to having fundraisers for the cancer and heart society that we could raise money to improve the quality of life of those seniors who face chronic pain and disabilities. In other words, I feel like we dumps billions of dollars into care and research of keeping people alive- but many of them are in severe pain and suffer.


Posted Sep. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 93

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I think it means that we have placed more importance on the patient being medically cared for and treated, and not enough importance on the emotional well being of life, as in is the individual (as opposed to patient) happy? Feel useful? Stimulated by activities or friends/family? The assisted living approach has helped tremendously - having his/her own room, ability to have a pet, activities to take part in, etc. My other-in-law is in a good facility, where the dining room is smaller and more personal, caregivers get to know the individual, and activities for both sexes are planned. Although my MIL didn't always participate, but she was always invited.


Posted Sep. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 107

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

It is "medicalized", but there has been a significant increase in Palliative Care Programs which is making health care humanized.


Posted Sep. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 60

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I think "medicalized" means that the medical community looks at patients as some-thing to fix. When you stop seeing a soul, a life, thoughts and feelings, it is easier to make the decisions, prescribe the options, then walk away. Medical training is in severe need of an overhaul. It needs to address mortality, not just as something to fight, but as the personal experience of each person facing it. Every individual is different and every individual's thoughts on mortality will be unique. Can they accept training that allows them to be less rigid and controlling, more flexible and compassionate to the human experience? I think if Naturopathic physicians are any example, the answer is "yes."


Posted Sep. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 186

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I see most doctors as "fixers" rather than "helpers." I wish that more doctors would specialize in geriatric care. I turned 74 this week and mortality is taking on a different meaning for me, personally. I no longer expect a doctor to "fix" or cure my aches and pains, but I would like to leave the office feeling better about what can be done for them.


Posted Sep. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 87

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I don't think that most people have seriously thought about how they want to live their older years. Too many people look for pills to fix things that can be fixed with lifestyle or dietary changes; an easy way out. I don't think the ads for drugs help that at all. I work in a hospitality business, and it is amazing the number of pills that people are taking.


Posted Sep. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 54

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I think he means the treatment physicians are taught, but not individualized per person. Often there is a pateralisic approach without thinks no of the effects on the patient/family.


Posted Sep. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccal

Join Date: 06/16/16

Posts: 19

RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I think too often a patient is a number, a name on a chart, someone you have to call upon in the hospital, someone to "fix" or provide medication for pain. Now we realize that the overuse of narcotic medicine is out of control and addictive--often with the patient having no part in the decision to take them or the knowledge as to how dangerous they are. Having said that, I don't entirely blame the doctors. The patient and the family and friends of the patient do not feel comfortable knowing a patient is in pain and want the quick "fix" which leads to keeping the patient with less pain. I think that depression in the elderly has to be addressed so that they are more mobile with a desire to be active, engaged, and living IN life daily. From my personal experiences volunteering in Senior Centers and Senior Facilities, so much of the quality of their lives depends on their attitudes and the attitudes of those who care for them including their family members. Nothing can replace the necessary medicine that is medical protocol, but we can do a lot more in the area of palliative care and giving the person autonomy in their own life decisions.


Posted Sep. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darylb

Join Date: 06/23/13

Posts: 104

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I think too many health care professionals focus on keeping patients alive rather than considering the quality of their lives. With ever increasing medical advances the elderly are being kept alive with no quality of life. Older patients wth terminal disease are given treatments that may marginally extend their lives, but the side effects are making them miss out on the important time they have left. I think using hospice and/or home health care is a much better choice. Doctors need to be able to communicate to their patients this choice and give them the pros and cons in order to make the right decision.


Posted Sep. 21, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 35

RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

As a physician I understand, I think, that he is referring to the patient becoming a 'problem' to be assessed, a diagnosis made and treatment instigated. Perhaps training has changed since I was going through it but there is so much to try to learn and it is so important to be able to analyze signs, symptoms, etc that it becomes difficult to move from 'Problem' to 'Person' and remembering during that process to avoid dehumanizing. The patient is NOT the problem.


Posted Sep. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janp

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 31

RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

Mortality is not a disease. It is the end of our lives and doesn't need to be "medicalized" in the traditional sense as nothing can fix it. To medicalize is to diagnosis, fix, cure. The person needs to be recognized for his or her capabilities and be treated accordingly.


Posted Sep. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 88

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RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

I agree with many in that "medicalized" mortality is when doctors need to fix the medical problem, not treat the patient. Dying is a part of life, prolonging it doesn't necessarily give the person a better end-of-life. I also agree that hospice and palliative care programs are the way to go. I am seeing more of these programs which is great. I don't know what training the doctors receive but I would like to see more geriatric training given and advertised so people know who they can talk to. And insurance companies need to recognize and pay for geriatric care, hospice, and other similar programs instead of only paying for medical procedures. I think medical training and insurance changes would help shift end-of-life care to a more humane approach.


Posted Sep. 23, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilc

Join Date: 04/10/17

Posts: 8

RE: What do you think Dr. Gawande means when he says that we've "medicalized" mortality? Do you agree? Why do you think that has happened? How can we shift to a more humane approach?

Rather than "medicalized" mortality, my parents each chose to reach out to Hospice for their final days. Our family fully participated and only hope that our own passing is as peaceful, painless and gentle.


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