Medical Anthropology Final

Medical Anthropology Final - The article, "The Checklist:...

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The article, “The Checklist: If something so simple can transform intensive care, what else can be done?” written by physician Atul Gawande, provides a compelling look into how Western medicine conducts Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and the result of a simple checklist, as created by Peter Pronovost, to help alleviate the financial and mortality burden created by practitioners’ mistakes. In large part this article addresses many of the relevant frameworks discussed throughout this semester, and provides a link to the concepts of culture and biomedicine. The article begins with the case of a little girl who endures the harrowing experience of falling into an icy pond and is consequently submersed for nearly thirty minutes. The ICU team in the Austrian hospital conducts multiple steps in the ICU to help resuscitate the victim in the effort for her to regain full function. This discussion of the various technological machines used to treat the girl brings to mind the manner in which biomedicine treats death; as something that should be avoided at all costs, no matter what the physical and mental consequences. Whereas a hundred years ago death was something “natural,” choice has replaced nature. I grappled with the idea that in this scenario our extensive, albeit still limited control over nature has left us without any way to justify moral decisions. In the past it would be permissible to let a person die naturally; however now society has been transformed to become nature, so the decision cannot
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2008 for the course SMS P8200 taught by Professor Vance during the Fall '08 term at Columbia.

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Medical Anthropology Final - The article, "The Checklist:...

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