Preventing the Inevitable: Are We Preoccupied?

For my repurposing project I will be discussing the role of preventative health care in our society, and how advancements in medical practice and research have created a preoccupied patient base. My “original source” addresses this issue in the form of an argumentative essay. I plan on repurposing this into an Op-Ed for The New York Times. The following three texts are all from The New York Times but address the topic of preventative health care and aging in a slightly different way.

  1. Jason Karlawish’s Op-Ed titled “Too Young to Die, Too Old to Worry” questions the role that
    Leonard Cohen
    Leonard Cohen, 1988

    preventative healthcare and cautious living has taken in our society. The piece is written for casual readers of The New York Times, and is written in such a way that does not limit the audience to only doctors or people interested in medicine. In that sense I hope to mimic this article in the Op-Ed I will be writing. The article is framed in the context of our societies growing obsession with disease prevention and subsequent preoccupation in some cases. Karlawish writes to reinstate the importance of day-to-day happiness and pleasures. May it be extreme, Karlawish exemplifies the triumph of day-to-day pleasures through Loenard Cohen, a famous singer who proclaimed his return to smoking when he reached age 80.

  2. Abigail Zuger’s article “A Pound of Prevention Is Worth a Closer Look” was published in the “Health” section of The New York Times and has a topic extremely similar to mine: the pitfalls of obsessive prevention. This article takes a different angle than Karlawish’s in that it focuses on the prevalence of over-diagnoses and over-treatment by medical professionals as opposed to over-obsessive lifestyles of the patients themselves. For this reason, I believe a more medically oriented audience will likely find and read this piece as opposed to Karlawish’s. Here is a thought-provoking quote from the article: “In the finite endeavor that is life, when is it permissible to stop preventing things?”
  3. Peter Bach’s article “When Care Is Worth It, Even if End is Death” was also published in the “Health” section. This article is interesting in that it argues last resort healthcare aimed at prolonging lives (even when the end is death) is worth the time and money of medical practices. The audience is likely the medical community and those involved in creating medical policy, and its context is modern day medical spending guidelines. In a time of budget cuts and economic spending shortages, Bach defends the value of prolonging life no matter what condition the patient is in.  This article added interesting insight into the forthcoming production of my Op-Ed as it essentially proclaims a very different argument than the one I plan to make. With that said, the contexts are slightly different and I support Bach’s goal of treating all patients.

In all, this process of finding and mapping articles related to my repurposing project gave me a better understanding of what I hope to achieve.

2 thoughts to “Preventing the Inevitable: Are We Preoccupied?”

  1. Jeremy — It seems like you’ve got a good handle on your subject. I personally would be most interested in seeing if you could strike a balance between Karlawish’s article and Zuger’s article. I think striking a balance between the sociological implication of prevention and the medical/scientific side will make your piece very readable as well as optimally educational. I also would encourage you from including your own thoughts on over diagnosis and when prevention is a good/bad thing.

  2. Jeremy, I really enjoyed your proposal. Your topic is something that I am not exposed to as often as I should be, so I am excited to read the final product. With that being said, I think it is important to find a happy medium between the sociological analysis and the incorporation of your own medical knowledge. The sociology aspect seems to be the driving force behind your argument, but I think it is important to adhere to the medical audience as well, because it is a community you are a part of. I am interested in seeing how your op- ed compares to the pieces you explained above.

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