The End Of Life, Unique Experience

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The end of life, Unique Experience

"Authentic living we are only mortals, because we know that we will stop living and that life is precisely" 

It is true what Fernando Savater affirms in his work the questions of life. Our death gives meaning to our life. That idea of finitude, transience and instability of what we know is what gives it value;What makes us aware of our hands take advantage of every moment (emulating the classic topical carpe diem). Knowing that we are going to die makes us discover why we want to live, what do we want to do with the time we have received. However, over the years we have been able to isolate death in a way not to keep it in mind in our lives, except for when it surprises us with its appearance. We know that we are going to die but, in my opinion, we are not fully aware of it and everything that implies.

The author with whom I have started this introduction to my work, Fernando Savater, was unknown to me until attending the V Meeting of the Puerta de Hierro de Majadahonda Hospital “Euthanasia and the limits of human life”. But on that occasion I was impacted a fragment of his work the questions of life, which I mentioned above:

“Death was no longer a foreign matter, a problem of others, nor a general law that would reach me when I was greater, that is: when it was another (…) I was to be the protagonist of true death, the most authenticAnd important, the death of which all other deaths would be nothing more than painful rehearsals." 

At that time I became aware of two facts;Not only will I die in the future and I will be the protagonist of my death but, as a doctor, I will also be a secondary character of hundreds and hundreds of deaths. But contrary to in a play rehearsed until satiety, I will not have any script or pointer that tells me what to do.

Clearly, throughout my training I will receive indications of how to act before the death of a person, what are my judicial and bureaucratic obligations and some advice on how to cope with the situation but, in any case, I will be alone before the last act, theoutcome of the life of each protagonist whose life ends in my consultation.

Seeing it in an objective way it may not be such a difficult dilemma. The complication is that we are not able to reach that objectivity due to the divergence of the human race thought. I explain. The opinion of a person from Spain in relation to a medical procedure is probably different from that of a person originally from Indonesia. An educated person all his life based on the values of Muslim religion will seek to safeguard values other than those of a person from an atheist background.

In each of these cases there would be a clear moral disagreement of maximums, so it would be necessary to reach a minimum consensus, common action parameters. But, the real question is: can we talk about common minimums when we refer to the end of each person’s life being a unique and unrepeatable moment of which he is the protagonist? And, on the other hand, another question arises: to what extent should each patient be free to make their own decisions?

The health revolution that brought with it the twentieth century introduced a fundamental modification in the medical practice that had not been considered necessary so far: the patient’s autonomy and their decision -making capacity. Although in the beginning of hypocratic medicine there was a vision of the doctor as the "restorative of the lost balance" and the connoisseur of the order of nature, arriving in the middle of the last century, that prevalence of medical paternalism begins to be left behindin which his criteria was considered as the only valid and he gives way to the patient’s freedom to make decisions. That is, the traditional principle of charity begins to be displaced by the autonomy.

In this way, patients begin to have the capacity and freedom of choice before their health which creates a certain problem, as I mentioned before. In such a diverse society there are multiple positions, beliefs and opinions in relation to innumerable topics. However, by focusing on the principle of autonomy, society inevitably acquires the categorization of "plural and pluralistic" 2, so it admits the diverse existing perspectives.

Consequently and concordance with the foregoing, one must begin to speak of a civil society and not focused on any specific religion (since it would be impossible to reach a consensus without violating the acceptance of the diversity mentioned) and therefore, at the time ofAnalyze behaviors in the health field, we refer to a non -religious ethic. However, it is undeniable that, despite being Spain a secular state, religion, fundamentally Catholic, has had an extremely important role in its history. Much of the social values and constructs admitted as "common" to the majority of the population derive from the Catholic doctrine and, in a way, it has conditioned for many centuries the medical exercise.

For this reason, I have decided to discuss in this work the issue of the end of life but comparing the secular perspective with the religious, focusing fundamentally on Christianity and how Catholic faith can condition the exercise of medicine.  

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