Barry Ashpole Media Watch #489 (Part 1 of 2)

Barry Ashpole Media Watch

Read about dying patient law in Israel, palliative care in Pakistan and understanding the life course through newspaper obituaries in India at this issue of Media Watch today!

Articles from Asia Pacific Region:

The policy of non-decision: The case of the dying patient law and the vegetative state patients in Israel

ISRAEL | Israel Affairs – 10 November 2016 – Enacted in Israel in 2005, the dying patient law does not apply to vegetative state patients, leaving them with no decision regarding their fate. This article discusses the policy of non-decision using as a case study the treatment and the option of abstaining from treatment of patients who have been classified as “vegetative state” (VS). This analysis was conducted while focusing on the various explanations for adopting a policy of non-decision, and suggests that it is the gap between the national level of policymaking, where a policy of non-decision is adopted, and the local level of policymaking, where concrete decisions are required, that harms those affected both directly and indirectly by the decisions made. With the aim of informing policymakers about their choice, the article explains how a policy of non-decision leads to local medical positions that create a street-level policy, ignoring the shared medical needs of the VS patients as a group. The ramifications of this choice lead to a failure to exhaust all treatment options, or alternately, the impossibility of avoiding treatment of these patients.

Specialist Publications

Understanding the life course through newspaper obituaries

INDIAN JOURNAL OF GERONTOLOGY, 2016;30(4):452-462. Contrary to the commonly held belief that death is hidden from public view, obituary announcements remain the most dominant channels of presentation in the mass media. Obituaries as part of the mourning process truly present life in death. They go beyond a simple announcement of death to include information about the socio-economic status of the deceased and/or his survivors. Obituary announcements represent an alternative data source on a people’s perceptions of life, death and dying, and derive their meanings from the socio-cultural codes of traditions, beliefs, religions and such other practices. Their presentations cover achievements from birth till death, the inevitability of death and the beliefs about the continuity of life after death. However, the practice of not to speak ill of the dead (which is prevalent in many cultures) presents a major limitation to the effective utilization of the data source in cultural analysis. This is evident in this study as no single obituary announcement detailed any wrong doing of the deceased. Nevertheless the authors findings have helped to understand that obituaries can be a useful tool for tracking societal norms and values in the face of rapid societal transformation.

Palliative care in Pakistan

INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL ETHICS | Online – 18 November 2016 – Pakistan is a developing country of South East Asia, with all the incumbent difficulties currently being faced by the region. Insufficient public healthcare facilities, poorly regulated private health sector, low budgetary allocation for health, improper priority setting while allocating limited resources, have resulted essentially in an absence of palliative care (PC) from the healthcare scene. Almost 90% of healthcare expenditure is out of the patient’s pocket with more than 45% of population living below the poverty line. All these factors have a collective potential to translate into an end-of-life care disaster as a large percentage of population is suffering from chronic debilitating/terminal diseases. So far, such a disaster has not materialised, the reason being a family based culture emphasising the care of the sick and old at home, supported by religious teachings. This culture is not limited to Pakistan, but subsists in the entire sub-continent, where looking after the sick/elderly at home is considered to be the duty of the younger generation. With effects of globalisation, more and more older people are living alone and an increasing need for PC is being realised. However, there does not seem to be any plan on the part of the public or private sectors to initiate PC services. This article seeks to trace the social and cultural perspectives in Pakistan with regards to accessing PC in the context of healthcare facilities available.

The latest issue of Media Watch, compiled and annotated by Barry R. Ashpole (Ontario, Canada) can now be downloaded here. More reports can be found at IPCRC.NET


Published on: 28 December, 2016 | Last modified: 28 December, 2016