When doctors carried out medical test on Sara Thomas Monopoli, they found out that she was suffering from lung cancer. According to the medical experts, lung cancer is a life threatening disease that causes death. Sara Monopoli’s problems had started with a cough and a pain in her back and by the time, the doctors discovered that it was lung cancer; the disease had already spread to the lining of her chest. Sara and her family did not believe the findings of the diagnosis because she had done nothing that would have brought this to her.
The disease had first started in her left lung and it had spread very first to most parts of the body by the time it was discovered. As explained by Dr. Paul Marcoux, there is no cure for lung cancer when it has spread to this level.
However, Sara underwent several blood tests and body scans in trying to seek for the right treatment that will cure the disease and hence prolong her life but all this was in vain. Her body continued to fail; she suffered from a lot of pain since there was no right treatment for her. She endured severe pressure as the disease spread to her brain and she finally died.
According to religion, the kind of death Sara died was a physical death. This kind of death occurs when a person’s spirit departs from his/her body and his/her body then ceases to function. Religion teaches that we are tripartite in nature that is spirit, soul, and body. Our body is our physical person, the flesh and bones and blood, this is what died in Sara but her soul and spirit remained.
Dr. Gawande’s right things
First, his stories about patients, research findings and healthy policy are so touching in the sense that they encourage believers to figure out the purpose of their life in fulfilling God’s mission while on earth. He took his time to describe to us the cultural, costs of care at the end of life, the quality of life and psychological barriers that make it difficult for patients, family members, and doctors to prepare for good end of life decision making.
He encouraged people to find time, attention, and ability to have meaningful conversations about what really matters to them during the critical stages of their lives. Dr. Gawande was always present for the sick and their family members who were very much concerned about the health conditions of their loved ones. He handled difficult conversations with patients, their families and friends effectively. This indeed is very much encouraging for all religious believers since it is good to care for people regardless of their conditions.
Dr. Gawande also helped people negotiate the overwhelming anxiety about life threatening diseases and how to deal with them while remaining optimistic. He also cared for and participated in hospice care programs that helped prolong life of patients. He did his best to ensure that all patients got access to the programs conveniently.
As a general surgeon, he operated a woman who had metastatic colon cancer. When the woman returned to him later, he clearly explained to her how much bowel was removed from her. This shows that the Dr. Gawande had a good attitude and he knew how to deal with patients of all kinds. He therefore dedicated his life and career in serving humanity. This should be the call for all of us as religious believers since by serving fellow human beings we indirectly serve our Almighty God.
The wrong things Dr. Gawande
Although Dr. Gawande did several things that were right, as a human being prone to the sinful nature of this world, some things he did were wrong. For example, he was timid with Sara Monopoli. He told Sara directly without consideration that it had not been possible to remove all the disease from her. This direct information shocked Sara who later asked whether she was going to die but Dr. Gawande lied to her that the doctors were going to use Chemotherapy to cure her.
He also believed that death was a very dangerous enemy with superior forces in the sense that there was no way to defeat it. This shows that although Dr. Gawande was committed to his work, he had little faith when it when comes to life threatening illness like cancer that has no cure. Thus, this implies that if he had power, there would have been no need to treat and care for patients suffering from these diseases because after all, they have to die at the end.
What I would have done differently if I were Sara
If I were Sara with such kind of advanced illness, after physicians had made a diagnosis, I would have created a positive mindset before encountering various methods used for treating lung cancer. I would not have undergone several blood tests and body scans in trying to seek for the right treatment that will cure the disease and hence prolong my earthly life since as indicated by the doctors, the disease has no cure. I would therefore have accepted that what was coming was a physical death and confront it by repenting my sins to God.
Since lung cancer, can have emotional and physical effects that may be mishandled if both the patients and their family members are not prepared to accept the consequences of treatment, I would have explained about it to family members and friends.
This would have strengthened them and give them more hope not to worry too much about my situation since religion teaches us that at some point in time, we will meet again after the physical death. This will have equally reduced the expense incurred in treating my illness and prepare family members psychologically about my death as well as strengthen their faith in God.
Physical death is something that usually scares those who are non-believers. This is because the fallen nature of man does not understand death. Some people fight very much to stay alive using all means of scientific knowledge available. However, scientific medicine cannot play saviour to the dying. It is God only who can keep human beings alive indefinitely or satisfy the soul when the body fails. Therefore, we all need to pray very hard so that God can reveal to us the correct meaning of physical death.