Tags: written - prose - cut_adrift -

A Matter of Life or Death

by Miriam Segelman

A Matter of Life or Death- a Survival Story

How is it possible to make a critical life or death decision when it is known that there is only a 5-0% chance of survival if a potentially life saving operation (or moreover 90-95% chance of a life preventing operation) is to take place?

Additional time pressures imposed on coming to make a decision in the knowledge that the outcome of such a decision (i.e. the outcome of the operation or not proceeding with it) affects a large number of people both directly such as family members, friends and no doubt the healthcare professionals involved in the case too. Five minutes (300 seconds) may be all the time that is necessary to make a decision but it also may be the time at which your life ends.

I myself have not been in such a position but I am a relative of someone who has had such a responsibility in having to make such a decision in which there may be no successful outcome. This someone has inspirational inner strength, enthusiasm for life and their choice was one that they considered 'the best choice in their life', completely self deliberated and definitive despite the known risks which surgery entailed.

 Miriam Segelman


I found the process of creating the work very rewarding in the sense that it made me appreciate the art of medicine - the human side not just solely the intellectual technical side. It has made me aware of the importance of emotional intelligence in dealing with inevitable challenges of being human. It highlights how experiences in my life and other's have enhanced human skills such as compassion, courage, sense of humour and sensitivity. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to empathise with patients who are contending with problems such as dealing with family illness, promoting self awareness. I did not edit this piece once I finished it because I wanted to express my feelings freely.

Whole Person Care