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Ever since I was a little girl of 12 years old I wanted to be a doctor. I still do.
However, as I grew older, I realized that the field of medicine has more string attached than I realized. An avid reader, I aimed to grow aware of what there was waiting for me in the future.
First, as the reader, you may ask, “But why did you stick with it? Were you interested in anything else?” To be honest, I was. I loved Shakespeare, painting, piano, and a lot of other things that I could do with my life.
But I decided to be a doctor because I thought I could heal people. Even bring them back to life. Play the dangerous game of God. It starts innocently I suppose, but I now know that it can spiral out of control.
One of the hot topics in medicine today is what is known as “physician assisted suicide.” In literal terms, this means that the patient wants to die with the aid of their doctor.
Now try to picture my reaction. Shocked? Yes. Angry? Not really. Sad? Definitely.
I have different reactions on all planes when it comes to this topic, but in reality, this topic has no right answer. The doctor himself or herself forms their own right answer.
I believe all human life has value, a gift that shouldn’t be thrown away.
But when I read the different stories, new questions just kept growing.
Some cases called for the measures these doctors went to because they did not want their patients to suffer a horrible death. In other cases they just gave them the pills and left the room. In others, they sat by their beds and held their hands while the morphine dripped through the IV.
They were all different, and I realized that I was not going to get a concrete answer to this question.
I had the opportunity to go to a medical conference in Chicago this summer, where this topic caused frequent and heated debate among the peers in my group. We had all gotten to know each other well in five days, but we treaded this path very carefully. Some of us in the room had different beliefs than I.
I remember one boy in my group said that his job as a doctor is to care for his patients, and if ending their life was best for them, he would do it. A girl said she couldn’t be able to live with the guilt if she ever did that. Others just shrugged their shoulders and said “Let the lawyers decide.”
I myself would agree with the girl. The guilt would be unbearable. So I guess the game of playing God calls for guts I don’t have. However, if killing someone “for good,” or “for mercy” is gutsy, I’d rather be a miserable wimp for the rest of my life.
So now I realize that medicine is not just about patients, germs, and lollipops. It also calls for a definition of your principles.