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Perspectives on Medical Ethics Browse

The Concept of Cure


JOAN RINGELHEIM: Can we talk about cure?


JOAN RINGELHEIM: I would think that most people who, in the audience, who are not disabled would say there’s something important about medicine developing cures for certain diseases. Do you think that’s true?

HARRIET MCBRYDE JOHNSON: I have no interest at all in a cure for my disease. And there again, the community is by no means monolithic. Christopher Reeve really and truly cared deeply about cure. He was sincere. Nobody was forcing him to do the work that he did and that’s legitimate. That came from his experience. But to me, my disability is, I mean, it is part of my DNA. It’s in every, every, will you say molecule of me? I don’t know enough about the biology. But, you know, at the tiniest level, the disability is part of who I am. And, you know, I really have no interest in changing that. It seems to be much more interesting to figure out what to do with this kind of body and this kind of life. Now, when my mother got breast cancer, I was very glad that there were some good treatments for her, and maybe that doesn’t make sense. But maybe it does. I don’t know. Does that make sense?

Harriet McBryde Johnson speaks about the concept of cure.