Medical Advancement Of A Double Edged Sword

Decent Essays
“To Live On”, a 2005 art installation composed of roses and infusion bags by Min Jeong Seo, elegantly captures the idea of medical advancement of a double edged sword. Seo’s art piece involves fifty long stemmed roses, eerily suspended with the blooms perfectly preserved in infusion bags, while the stems hang freely, drying and decaying at their own pace. It’s an apt visual metaphor that showcases the good and bad consequences of constant medical research and development, one that addresses the concepts of “playing God” and where quality of life gives way to mere extension of it. While scientific progress has given society increasingly effective therapies and has allowed us to extend our collective life span, it has also led us into increasingly woolly territory where we must consider if genetically typing fetuses, blanket prescription writing or a systematic emphasis on tertiary care is compatible with a higher quality of life than if our bodies were left to their own devices. Unpacking these issues requires a degree of separation away from the medical field and the patients, practitioners and occasional overcommitment to scientific dogma that introduces biases and cloudy judgement into the question of how society should use its technology. This core tension has always fascinated me and has inspired me to constantly ask if the newest discovery is actually the best, or if a simpler, more effective solution already exists and someone just hasn’t figured out how to apply it.
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