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 Life and the End of life

We each experience myriad challenges, blessings, and confounding situations in our lifetime. Best said by Barbara Ehrenreich in her book Natural Causes,” you can think of death bitterly or with resignation, as a tragic interruption of your life, and take every possible measure to postpone it. Or, more realistically, you can think of life as an interruption of an eternity of non-existence and seize it as a brief opportunity to observe and interact with the living, ever-surprising world around us.” Some thought-provoking essays are worthy of discussions among family, friends, and communities…

 Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS)/Medical Aid in Dying (MAID)

Lawmakers in our state legislatures spew the principle of autonomy and are voting on our right to end life with a lethal dose of legally prescribed medication by a physician. However, the argument is bereft of the consequences for society as government insidiously narrows the boundaries of protected life. A right to life is an unalienable right codified in our Declaration of Independence. That right carries a corresponding duty, i.e., a duty to protect life. A right to die is not codified. If so, it would then carry a corresponding duty to help end life. Would there be a red line “never to be crossed” in a world of strained financial resources? It is worth exploring…

 Addiction and Opioids

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids.

Drug companies, Congress, physicians, and the general public’s insatiable appetite for immediate gratification have converged to create a public health emergency that has no easy solutions. Patients expect physicians to prescribe medications for pain management; young people experiment with illicit drugs; and the lonely, depressed, and mentally ill numb their emotional pain. The explosion of prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl affects every age, social class, and race. There are no clean hands in this crisis that threatens the socio-economic fabric of our nation. So, what do we do other than wring our hands and proselytize in front of the cameras…?

 Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Technology, Loneliness

Social connection or the lack thereof is now considered a social determinant of health. According to the Wall Street Journal, baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, with about eight million people in the U.S. without close kin, the main source of companionship in old age. Their share of the population is projected to grow at over 10,000/day. And, among young people, loneliness is pervasive. Therefore, the question is, does social media mitigate or contribute to the lack of connection felt by both young and old? Will artificial intelligence devices replace the need for human contact, for touch, or compassion? Staying current with futuristic solutions about social isolation and loneliness is personal…

 To Think or Not to Think…on more

The four principles of medical ethics are autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and social justice. There are myriad topics that fall within these principles and impact our everyday lives. Rather than create distinct categories for each, I will provide short essays that elicit some thought for the reader to explore while relaxing in one’s favorite space, either choosing to think or not to think…

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