One word can describe Lee Gutkind book at the end of life, simply excellent. Whoever reads the book would undoubtedly find it inspiring, and indispensable. This ranks the book as one of the leading figures in the nonfiction movement.
This paper will analyze the several themes and emergency and record-breaking decisions in medical practice in the various story articles as edited by Lee Gutkind, including the critical analysis of the stories In relation to the current medical practices and psychology. All the twenty-two up close medical stories explore death, palliative care and dying and subsequently expose the inner operations of a system in which medical practitioners, patients and their families fight the battle to starve death. We get to read the emotional testimonies from experienced doctors, hospice workers, nurses and medical residents who in their daily practice encounter death.
Perfectly written essay by Anne Jacobson a physician with several academic accolades and a master in Public Health. There are numerous themes in these stories. To start with, is hope and optimistic. All over the world, the integrity and professionalism of medical doctors is compared to perfectionism. When a young woman brought to the hospital emergency room accompanied by her mum and aunt and subsequently diagnosed with meningococcemia, a rare infection that can destroy the body organs in a few hours (Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose 17). Though the doctors know the severity of the condition, they were hopeful of her recovery by administering all the required procedures and medication. Moreover, in the case of the elderly man who had a urinary tract infection but abandoned by the nephew who for some reasons was enjoying his monthly disability allowance. This character of hope and optimism of the doctors is significant in driving key medical advancements in order to enhance medical services, lower suffering and engage the attention of people towards crucial details in the medical world.
People lose the colossal picture that despite the modern medical practices and vast research and body of knowledge coupled with exceptional will a person will die someday. An example by the several death notes attached on the clinical board with description of the entire unsuccessful medical emergency undertaken to prevent the patients from dying for instance failed defibrillation in the ICU (Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose 18). The inner circle of the patients always denies the underlying truth that the person they love will at some point die. They believe that the doctors and technological advancements in the field of medicine can save them the agony of losing their loved ones to death.
Another theme in this story is that of sadness and grief of losing a family member. Anne Jacobson cites Tamara’s aunt painted with sadness describing how her niece’s blood pressure dropping and no signs of improvement. Still she had to thanks Dr. Jacobson for her efforts in trying to save her niece’s life (Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose 20). There are different emotions that cut across the board the bereaved family normally faced with sadness, shock and grief. Furthermore, the doctors depicted as sad due to letting go of their patient. This assists the doctors to allow the process of healing and develops a greater feeling of hope and relief in the future.
Finally, the story uncovers the life and daily emergencies doctors and nurses face in a hospital. How they make the most crucial decisions in order to save people lives. Spending sleepless nights in their quest to serve and save many patients as possible. With high emotions in the air, doctors are able to calm the environment and tension and through counseling. Indeed the doctors and nurses are heroes for their excellent work.
The wake-up call by Catherine Musemeche
This creative nonfiction features a captivating scenario; Catherine a surgeon suddenly becomes a worried daughter with her mother suffering from aneurysm rapture (Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose 91). Meanwhile, she balances her medical professionalism by having faith in other doctors and subsequently hoping for the best. In this story, Catherine demonstrates to the readers the insights of the process and procedure involved to rescuing and saving lives in the hospital. Although it takes a series of complex procedure to prevent death, not all procedures are successful. Notable examples of these complex medical procedures include unsuccessful treatment of the elderly woman and man with gastrointestinal and vascular diseases respectively (Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose 92).
Secondly, it is clear that doctors’ other factors such as religion influence doctors or surgeons efforts during crucial clinical procedures. Key medical procedure such as blood transfusion cannot be undertaken thus derailing doctors’ ability and efficiency to save lives in the medical theaters. Moreover, from the story the author gives us a clue on the possible reasons for failed surgeries. She cites doctors’ inability to face eventuality of failure or ego as one of the main reason many doctors fail in their quest of saving lives. This points out to one of the many flaws in the healthcare system.
Another thematic aspect is that doctors and physicians fairly lose innocence in their practice of medicine. They have extensive understanding and knowledge on the significant medical facts and diagnoses impact on their patients and their loved ones. Doctors spend the majority of their time in the confines of a hospital the same place that houses both the dying and the sick. This is the environment that doctors live in and more often recognize their outstanding roles. Thus, it depicts some of the modern technologies used in the field of medicine. In all the critical operations, the surgeons use advanced equipment for diagnosis for instance the use of EKG to diagnose cardiac ischemia.
Finally, Doctors too have emotions and a part from having the professional ethical conduct; they may be amongst the family of the patient. In the wake-u call, Catherine who her mother succumbs while admitted acknowledges the fact that death dictates its own time and environment despite surgeons’ efforts and experience. This is true as evidence by the numerous surgical procedures conducted in all the listed stories. In all the examples, doctors do their best and push to the limits in order to save lives. However, death is invisible, and when it comes calling the result is always obvious.
The interdisciplinary nature of the book at the end of life clearly portrays an element of ignorance on the way we deal with death. From the various excellent written stories; the book changes my perceptions regarding death. None can dispute the powerful nature of this book as a significant resource for all the concerned persons in medical heath and the clergy.
I support this fact peaceful deaths give an opportunity for the patient to have serene environment to live their last moments on earth without interferences. It is true that the current healthcare system coupled with modern medical practices has become efficient in overcoming death callings through aggressive interventions. However, this will never be the best alternative to a peaceful death. Peaceful death coincides with many patients’ wishes and normally leaves their loved ones satisfied with the natural process.
Gutkind, Lee, and Francine Prose. At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die. Pittsburgh: Creative Nonfiction, 2012. Print.