Essay On Medical Futility

Sunday, March 6, 2022 1:07:42 AM

Essay On Medical Futility

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Managing Requests for Medical Futility

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In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting. Recommended Stories. Miami Herald. Good Housekeeping. Business Insider. Wolverines Wire. Associated Press. Using organs from others who have passed away is a way to prevent these deaths, and it may also provide better quality of life for people like burn victims or individuals who have experienced severe ocular damage. The first step in an organ donation is to determine that the donor patient is truly dead. The medical community defines death in a number of ways, but for organ transplant, the patient must meet the criteria for brain death or cardiac death. Brain death means that there is no brain activity and no hope of recovery, but the patient's heart is still beating and he or she is still breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Cardiac death means that the patient's heart has stopped beating, although he or she may not be brain dead; this criteria is usually used in cases in which someone suffers from major head trauma , but still has some slight brain function, and therefore cannot be considered dead until his or her heart has stopped. A series of tests are conducted to confirm brain death, ensuring that the patient is truly, irrevocably dead. This can be traumatic, as the patient appears to be alive, but he or she is not; sometimes hospital staff must actually use extreme measures to keep the patient "alive" so that the organs will continue to be viable.

For cardiac death, the patient must be in cardiac arrest for at least two minutes. Organ donation is only considered after it is clear that a patient has no hope of survival. Until that time, the focus is on getting the patient well again. One of the most enduring and unfortunate myths about organ harvesting is that it is performed on patients who are still alive, or that doctors circle dying patients like sharks to grab their organs. Organ transplantation is serious business, but so is death, and hospital staff and doctors take death very seriously. And it dawned on you, though you rarely consciously say it, that you would never want to be black. Because you realized, even without being explicitly told, that being white makes life easier.

Even if you have to do some hard work along the way, at least you don't have to carry the burden of blackness as a hindrance. And if you're really honest, something else dawned somewhere in your mind. You realized that, if you wanted, by being white you could make things hard — much harder — for others. Especially black folks. How did you, how did I, how did we all learn this? No one taught you. No one had to. It's something that you absorbed just by living. Just by taking in subtle clues such as what the people in charge look like.

Whose history you learned in school. What the bad guys look like on TV. The kind of jokes you heard. How your parents, grandparents and friends talked about people that didn't look like you. I can hear some of you protesting. You don't want to admit this, especially your ability to make life rough for people of color. You don't want to face it. But Amy Cooper made the truth plain and obvious. She knew deep in her soul that she lived in a country where things should work in the favor of white people. She knew the real deal. We all do. That's the reason for the grief, outrage, lament, anger, pain and fury that have been pouring into our nation's streets.

Because folks are tired. Not only of the individual outrages. But of the fundamental assumption that ties them all together: that black lives don't matter and should not matter — at least not as much as white ones. We struggle to admit that Amy Cooper reveals what W. Du Bois calls "the souls of white folks. What don't we want to admit? That Amy Cooper is not simply a rogue white person or a mean-spirited white woman who did an odious thing. Yes, we should and must condemn her words and actions. But we don't want to admit that there is a lot more to this story. That she knew, we all know, that she had the support of an unseen yet very real apparatus of collective thoughts, fears, beliefs, practices and history.

This is what we mean by systemic racism. I could call it white supremacy, although I know that white people find that term even more of a stumbling block than white privilege. Essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates gives the best short description of this complex reality called white supremacy. He describes it as "an age-old system in America which holds that whites should always be ensured that they will not sink to a certain level. And that level is the level occupied by black people. Tweet this. We don't want to admit that Amy Cooper is not simply a bad white woman. We don't want to face the truth about America that her words and actions betray.

We don't want to admit that present in Central Park that morning was the scaffolding of centuries-long accumulations of the benefits of whiteness. Benefits that burden people of color. Benefits that kill black and brown people. Without facing this truth, Amy Cooper's actions make no sense. Even if we do not want to admit it. I understand the feelings of helplessness, confusion and even despondency that can afflict us.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, by the immense weight of centuries of accumulated fear, resentment, privilege and righteous anger. It can be shocking to confront the vastness of this nation's commitment to white benefit and advantage. Where do we begin? Let me be more specific: what are white people to do now that they know that they know what Amy Cooper knows — assuming they want to do anything? The reason for the specificity will become clear. First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened.

There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it. Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures. Systemic racism benefits white people. That's the truth that Amy Cooper knew and that we all know. That truth supports all the assumptions that sustain the racial craziness and insanity in which we live. I know that bluntly stating that systemic racism benefits white people makes people — especially white people — uncomfortable.

I also feel a pang of discomfort in being so direct. I know the kinds of online comments and emails that are sure to follow. But avoiding and sugarcoating this truth is killing people of color. Silence for the sake of making white people comfortable is a luxury we can no longer afford. If white people are unwilling to face very uncomfortable truths, then the country is doomed to remain what Abraham Lincoln called "a house divided. What to do next? Sit in the discomfort this hard truth brings.

Let it become agonizing. Let it move you to tears, to anger, to guilt, to shame, to embarrassment. Over what? Over your ignorance. Over the times you went along with something you knew was wrong. Or when you told a racist joke because you could. Because you knew that your white friends and family would let you get away with it, or even join in. Because you thought it was "just a joke. Or when you knew the person of color was in the right, but it was easier not to upset your white friends. Or wealthy donors, who are almost always white.

By the way, the wealth disparity didn't just happen nor is it due to black and brown folks' laziness. Look at the complexions of our "essential workers" for proof. Most of all, feel the guilt, the pain, the embarrassment over doing nothing and saying nothing when you witnessed obvious racism. Stay in the discomfort, the anxiety, the guilt, the shame, the anger. Because only when a critical mass of white folks are outraged, grieved and pained over the status quo — only when white people become upset enough to declare, "This cannot and will not be!

Third, admit your ignorance and do something about it. Understand that there is a lot about our history and about life that we're going to have to unlearn. And learn over. Malcolm X said that the two factors responsible for American racism are greed and skillful miseducation. We have all been taught a sanitized version of America that masks our terrible racial history. For example, most of my white students — and students of color, too — know nothing of the terror of lynching. They don't know that for a year period from , on average every third day a black person was brutally and savagely and publicly murdered by white mobs. This wasn't taught, or it was taught to mean only that, in the words of a white student, "some people got beat up real bad.

Yet without knowing this history, the Civil Rights Movement only becomes a feel-good story about desegregation and bringing races together — sharing schools, drinking fountains and maybe neighborhoods. The brutal, savage and sadistic violence that whites inflicted with impunity upon black — and brown and Asian — people in order to defend "white supremacy" their words, not mine is never faced. Nor do we have to face the truth that most racial violence in our history has been and continues to be inflicted by whites against people of color. To create a different world, we must learn how this one came to be. And unlearn what we previously took for granted. This means that we have to read.

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