Guests of the Roundtable were Dr. Franz Kainberger (Medical University of Vienna, Dpmt. of Diagnostic Radiology) and his colleague Andrea Maier. Their presence lead to a lively discussion about the ethics of how to tell a patient that he or she suffers from a terminal illnesses. Dr. Kainberger told an excerpt from the autobiography of Dr. Theodor Billroth (1829-1894) who had to diagnose a military general. The general requested the plain truth and so Dr. Billroth told him he had terminal cancer. The general, having seen death and knowing what to expect, shoot himself immediately after the diagnosis. Till his own death Dr. Billroth was unsure if he had done the right thing. The multicultural background of the art-science students led to interesting discoveries: while in Austria it would be illegal for a doctor to tell the diagnosis to anybody else than the patient, in Iran only the families would be informed about a terminal illness. The doctor in Iran would not decide what to tell the patient, his family would. Dr. Kainberger recalled his first experience of diagnosing a terminal cancer patient and how he felt helpless because he did not have enough time to help him before the other patients would need him. The discussion included thoughts about free will, euthanasia, and the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004) Model of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance.
Slawomir Bobola * medical environment / social performance
Anita Peretti * ultrasound images for the AKH
Harold Vladar * The exception becomes the rule: recognizing alternative forms of life.
Image: Field Research Presentation by Harold Vladar, photo Virgil Widrich
Protocol: Max Kropitz
Web report: Art & Science