Bifurcating roles of doctors

A doctor has died several days ago. He has been a chief priest of an old temple named Saimyoji not so far from here as well as the president of a clinic next to it. He has suffered from pancreatic cancer for the past 3 years. I haven't had any personal acquaintance with him at all. My father used to be cared for by him for a while when father was alive.

Saimyoji is an old temple founded in the 8th century. It is located a few km aouth of the main street of Mashiko town famous for the pottery industry and is on the top of a small mountain near by here. It is one of the places I used to bring the visitors either he/she is from the oversea or not. I have been there with them or alone once a year or twice. A very quiet place surrounded with high trees. As at any old temples, I always feel as if the time has stopped there. The quietness as well as its long history may make me feel that way.

At the temple 3 years ago when AJ2Y visited us here. He is not related with this article.

There is a clinic on the foothill of the mountain, I mentioned in the 1st paragraph, where the doctor has worked for years. He is told to have done the terminal care for the patients with grave prognosis. I am sure he has worked for those people with his religious belief in Buddhism. 

The role of doctors is bifurcating into two different ways. One is to give high tech medical treatments. It is the cutting edge effort to make patients survive longer. It has been the main power which drove the medical research in the past. It may persist for the benefit of people.

The other is the terminal care. Of course, there are a lot of specialties and fields in medicine which are situated between these two roles. The more progress medical science makes, I believe, the more conspicuous this bifurcating roles seem to be. Since medical science has reached to gene science and, possibly, the
medicoeconomic limit is getting more apparent due to the high cost of the modern high tech medical treatments, standing by the dying patients will be even more important for doctors from now. Accepting death used to be a defeat for the doctors as well as the patients. Nowadays, however, oftener, we confront to the point where no further treatments will be promising cure. It is the time terminal care would work for them and in that situation, the doctors should stand by those who are accepting their death. 

We should stand by them as the same human being destined to death. It is not an easy task for us if we seriously go along with them. It is a way to live death together with them. I believe it is the time when religion shows up before us with its original value. Of course, all we should do is to stand by those dying and to listen to what they think of life and death. But not to force any religious belief to them. 

I believe this doctor, having served for the dying people in the terminal care while having had the terminal cancer for the past 3 years, has done a great job as the by stander to them. RIP to doctor Tanaka.   

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