Download Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, by Sharon R. Kaufman PDF

By Sharon R. Kaufman

Such a lot folks wish and count on medicine’s miracles to increase our lives. In today’s getting older society, although, the road among life-giving remedies and an excessive amount of remedy is difficult to see—it’s being obscured by way of an ideal hurricane created by way of the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries, in addition to insurance firms. In Ordinary Medicine Sharon R. Kaufman investigates what drives that storm’s “more is better” method of medication: a virtually invisible chain of social, monetary, and bureaucratic forces that has made once-extraordinary remedies appear usual, worthwhile, and fascinating. given that 2002 Kaufman has listened to 1000s of older sufferers, their physicians and kinfolk convey their hopes, fears, and reasoning as they confronted the road among sufficient and an excessive amount of intervention. Their tales anchor Ordinary Medicine. Today’s drugs, Kaufman contends, shapes approximately each American’s event of ageing, and finally medication is undermining its personal skill to operate as a social stable. Kaufman’s cautious mapping of the resources of our future health care dilemmas may still make it a ways more straightforward to reconsider and renew medicine’s pursuits.

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Additional resources for Ordinary Medicine: Extraordinary Treatments, Longer Lives, and Where to Draw the Line (Critical Global Health: Evidence, Efficacy, Ethnography)

Sample text

Walters and her family we struggle mightily with the problem they engender: where, when, and how to draw the line. The chain of connections, the backbone of the biomedical enterprise in which American health care is delivered, follows a fixed order of progression, and each part of the chain influences the next part. It begins with scientific innovation, which then links to testing on patients in studies, to the accumulation and evaluation of research evidence, and finally to insurance reimbursement and the setting of standards and protocols.

What are the relative roles of families, doctors, and the insurance industry in providing treatment? Yet what is not obvious is the determinative ethical-­political field—­our particularly American ethos that places individualism among the highest values and mea­sures progress largely by new technologies and market forces—on which the shaping framework is based. This is the field that has given moral weight to the “more is better” ethos in medicine and has helped to make staving off a quick death (the kind many if not most of us claim to want in late life) ordinary, despite the attendant monetary and psychological costs.

For example, since the beginning of the twenty-­first century, icds such as Mrs. Walters’s have become a commonly used tool that is now considered necessary in order to stave off death. 4 More older people than ever before are routinely receiving maintenance kidney dialysis for end-­stage renal disease and aggressive interventions for cancers of all sorts. Living kidney donation exceeded deceased donor donation for the first time in 2001; liver transplantation for primary liver cancer has become standard-­of-­ care treatment; and increasing numbers of older people are receiving these transplants.

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