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Language focus. Explain the meanings of the following words and word combinations in English and use them in the situations of your own:
Explain the meanings of the following words and word combinations in English and use them in the situations of your own:
Modern Medical Science
1. Discuss the following :
People who are very ill should have the right to decide if they want to die. What do you think about the problem?
& 2. Read the text. Make sure you study the language of the text to be competent in further exercises and discussions.
Can you really call them killers?
The moralists and theorists have had their say. Now a mother who knows how it feels to bring up a severely handicapped child gives her own view of the couple who want to put an end to their baby's suffering.
We are up to our ears in moral dogma again and to be perfectly honest, I have had enough. In fact, enough was many moons ago. The case of all this moral agonising is the ultimate fate of 22-month-old Thomas Creedon, born severely brain-damaged, blind, deaf, dumb, constantly fitting and in pain, able to be fed only by a tube inserted in his stomach. Thomas's parents have launched a legal bid to have the feeding stopped. Giving him the right to die, say some; murdering him from the sentence of life he - and his parents - are stuck with, maintain others. And so the moralists have re-emerged from the woodwork, as they always do, the articulate debaters and theorists, demanding time on every TV screen, filling inches of space in all the newspaper columns. Yet for me, the most telling point came in an aside from Tom's father. Con." It's not for us, " he said quietly, explaining why he wants his son's life ended. "It's for Thomas." Maybe it was because I recognised the trap the Crecdons are in that I really heard what he was saying, and knew he was defending himself and his wife against those who will always condemnthemfor having their innocent, unsuspecting son put down. The moralists always use that kind of emotive language- murder, fascism, killing. They use emotion instead of constructive argument. Why shouldn't Con and Fiona Creedon choose what is best for themselves, as well as for their hopelessly handicapped child? Because nature made a mistake and landed them with this tragically incurable baby, why must that condemn them to a lifetime of drudgery and anguish? There can be no normality in their family while he exists, no future, no happiness, only worry and pain for an ordinary couple who have as much right as anyone else to all that life has to offer. With the "help" of medical science, their efforts could keep Thomas alive for many years, and the cost to them as individuals and as a family would be horrendous. But they know that they can't say this, or the moralists will judge them bad parents, dreadful people, even while professing sympathy, because only the truly awful could wish death on an innocent, defenceless child. And that is why I am so sick of it all, the double standards, the imposition of theories and Mickey Mouse ethics on the very people who know best: the parents. Let me tell you something. In my late teens and twenties, I was a chief cardiac technician. I worked in various hospitals in this country and abroad, and during my hours on duty I carried a bleeper so that I could be summoned to every cardiac arrest in the hospital. I hated losing, we all did, and we would work longer than was sensible on patients rather than let them go. But we had a system.
As soon as we arrived, someone would be detailed to read the case notes while the rest resuscitated the patient. If the patient had cancer, for instance, we stopped the routine, even if the resuscitation was successful, acked up the equipment and let them die instead. It has always happened - it is probably happening somewhere at this moment -we just didn't talk about it to outsiders. I had no doubts then and I have none now; it was humane, it was part of "not striving officiously to preserve life" , as the Hippocratic Oath requires.
But these days the public is more cynical about the medical profession, and medics fear being sued. That is their fault, a spin-off of hiding behind their God-like aura for generations, and the effects are now being felt in areas in which keeping quiet was the best thing for all concerned. These days, a doctor who does not strive officiously to prolong the suffering of a patient dying in slow agony may very well find himself convicted of manslaughter. It happened to Dr Nigel Cox in 1992 .
And so, because today's medics are scared of the consequences, parents like the Creedons, who care selflessly for the blightedlittle life they produced, must go to court for permission to have the burden of existence taken from their son, and from them. In doing so, they lay themselves open to the musings of moralists, who must inflict their views on everyone and refuse to acknowledge that those of the parents, the lifetime carers, are the most important, and they should have the choice and make the decision.
I have a 17-year-old daughter. She is brain-damaged, autistic, mentally handicapped and psychotic. Powerful drugs with terrible side-effects do not banish the hallucinations. She lives in her own little world, filled with voices and visions, existing from moment to moment, neither happy nor unhappy. She has no future and no quality of life, and I feel deep guilt about her; guilt that with all the medical knowledge I have, all the ways I know of ending her travesty of life, I don't have the courage to do it. Coward that I am , I hope if she should become physically ill one day that some decent medic will do it for me and release her, and the entire family, from the sentence of her existence. And damn the moralists.
3. Comprehensive questions:
a. What is the matter with Tom Creedon?
b. Did his parents try to put an end to all his sufferings?
c. What`s the moralists` point of view?
d. How does Tom`s father explain his attitude to the problem?
e. What does a chief cardiac technician say about his work?
f. Which consequences are today`s medics scared of?
g. Why does the author feel deep guilt about her daughter?
h. Can the author`s problem be easily solved?
i. What is your own attitude to the problem?
4. The text contains quite a few words whose pronunciation could pose difficulty. Transcribe the following words to avoid possible mispronunciation and miscommunication in future:
handicapped; ultimate; drudgery; anguish; horrendous; to resuscitate; manslaughter; consequences; musings; autistic; psychotic; hallucinations; decent.
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