Today I was reading an article for one of my OT classes. It’s a class that teaches us about the history of our profession. In the words of our professor, In order to know where we are and where we’re going as a profession, we need to know where we came from.
The article is titled, “Medicine and the Waning of Professional Sovereignty,” and it was written by Paul Starr in the 1985 issue of Bioethics Reporter. The beginning of the article talks about societal perceptions of medical advancements in technology.
Here’s what one of the sections of the article said:
Medicine often raises previously uncontrolled aspects of life to the level of social choice, and instead of giving satisfaction, endows us with some life-and-death power we might prefer to do without. A genius for technical sophistication may someday, with luck, make it virtually impossible for patients in hospitals to expire, except by someone’s (perhaps their own) conscious choice. Professionals already must make more of the “decisions for death” . . . that nature alone once made. So rather than a liberating and life-giving force, medicine now appears to many as a financial onus, to some as a moral burden, and to still others as perhaps the archetypal modern form of domination – of man over nature, and of men over each other.
A very blunt and thought-provoking statement.
How do we go about making medical decisions to end someone’s life, playing the “God” role, if you will? Has the medical technology that we have so coveted now become, as the author put it, “a moral burden”?
What are your thoughts?