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Appropriate Medical Treatment

Smawad's picture

I enjoyed this week's reading, and found it very vital especially for students who are considering the mdeical field as a future career. 

The following quote from Eli Clare's book, Brilliant Imperfection, stood out to me: "The vision of me without trembling hands and slurred speech, with more balance and coordination, doesn't originate from my visceral history. Rather it arises from an imagination of what I should be like, from some definition of normal and natural." 

Eli begins the chapter with: "I am alive because of medical technology." Medical technology is vital, and we've mentioned it many times throughout the semester, such as the electric wheelchair in Good Kings, Bad Kings. It could also be very harmful is used inhumanely, such as CRISPR, which seeks to eliminate disablity culture as a whole. There is a fine, clear line between medical intervention that seeks to keep a child and a mother alive, and provides the tools to assist in everyday life, and intervention that seeks to eliminate disability. CRISPR, for example, is a gene editing tool that is made based on the belief that medicine should eliminate "bad" genes. Medicine should be about saving lives, where patients are not just bodies that are being adjusted to fit society's idea of "normal."

Eli mentions the definition of cure as the "restoration of health." If a child is born with a disability or impairment, than their is no "healthier" history of that child to restore, so what health is medical intervention attempting to restore? Instead, it's trying to cure the disabled person, and create the health that is viewed as "normal." Medical intervention can be useful and vital, up until it extends to eliminate specific traits, genes, or cultures that are not seen as society's idea of "natural." Medicine is about saving lives, and assisting those who need medical assistance. It is not about choosing who gets to survive and who doesn't. It is not about creating technologies that eradicate what society views as "unnatural" or "abnormal". It's not about measuring quality of life. Medicine can be a powerful tool, and must be used appropriately.