"Modernism's paradox is that strange calculus between independence and dependence. Individualism has oddly increased dependence. Dependence, that is, with the medical profession. But doctors did not cross this line willfully, even though many crossed happily. They were invited to fill a space that was occupied traditionally by religion, family, and community.
For while the rise of the nuclear family has made many people more independent, it has also left them more lonely and insecure as well -- and left many people feeling guilty for ignoring their parents too. The guilt swells when a frail parent is in hospital. Physicians are caught between older patients and their children. For some relatives, medical intervention shows that they truly care, the more aggressively they push for treatment, the more evidence that they care. For the doctor, intervention is the path of least resistance."