Quality Of Life In Lisa Belkin's First Do No Harm

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Quality of life, live or let die, and extraordinary measures. These are principles critical to medical professionals and the decisions they make every single day. In Lisa Belkin’s book “First Do No Harm”, she explores many real life cases, and how different physicians and teams answered the questions asked of them: Do we withdraw life saving support? Does the patient require DNR status? Do we allow a child die under our care? There are varying definitions for the term quality of life, but each has the same overarching idea: The patient is able to live a happy and fulfilled life, as decided by themselves. The integral part of this principle is that it is the patient, if cognitively able or has previously indicated in an advanced directive, who decides whether or not their life is of quality and value. Doctors often struggle with this idea, as shown in the case studies of the book, especially in the United States. This is ostensible due to American culture, where doctors reside at the top of the knowledge ‘pecking order’, and can feel as if they are intellectually superior to families and patients, relegating them to the sidelines or conveying a sense of impotence in important decision making. Regardless of intentionality, it is committed due to our own human biases and tendencies. A clear example of this is in the case of Patrick and Dr. Javier. Patrick is a 15-year old African American boy diagnosed with an incurable condition, Hirschsprung’s Disease. He has

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