Chapter 12 Sociology of the Body: Disability, Aging, and Death Page 358-359
Death and Dying
-Why are death and dying social problems, and not just religious, philosophical, and medical
-Up until the modern times, most people dread death, but some traditional societies such as
Europe has accepted it.
-Reason being that some people believe in life after death, some form of continuation of life in
heaven or cyclical birth.
-Dying used to be public, but nowadays it is more public. In Canada today, people usually die in
hospitals that may be sterile, noiseless, and lonely.
-We tend to celebrate the youth and deny death. We have make-up, plastic surgery, diet, fashion,
exercise, etc to keep us looking young, hence, making us less prepared for death than our
-Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross analyzed the stages of death and proved how reluctant we
are to dying. For those who have an incurable disease, they first going into denial, refusing to
believe their death was imminent (about or threatened to happen). They then express anger,
seeing it as unjust. Negotiation followed; pleading with God to delay their death. Then came
depression and eventually acceptance.
-Known as mercy killing or assist suicide.
-New technology allows us to replace organs, which can prolong life beyond the point it should
have been. This leads to the question whether it is humane or immoral to hasten (make it happen
quickly) the death of terminally ill patients?
-Euthanasia is the act of a doctor prescribing medication or treatment that is intended to end a
WHUPLQDOO\LOOSDWLHQW¶VOLIH Also known as active euthanasia.
-Passive euthanasia involves intentionally withholding a life-saving medical procedure.
-In Canada, intentional killing or assisting suicide is illegal.
-In 2001, a survey showed that just over three-quarters of Canadians supported a terminally ill
-However, almost 60% of Canadians opposed mercy killing of a child who has severe disabilities.
-Many believed that if people with disabilities or are terminally ill had access to adequate pain
management and social services, it would lead to less demand of euthanasia.
-Euthanasia will become a major debacle in the future as there will be an increase in old people,
costly for medical care, and prolonging life improves.
-Some will uphold extending the lives of terminally ill patients as an ethical imperative.
However, others may regard it as immoral because it increases suffering and siphons scarce
resources from other pressing medical needs.