Harris Solomon, “On Life Support”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019
Harris Solomon, “On Life Support

9:30am (Breakfast available at 9am)

Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall
C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

This paper considers the phenomenon of breath to understand the edges of living and dying. It is based on ethnographic research in a trauma intensive care unit in one of Mumbai's busiest public hospitals. The paper examines how patients, their kin, and doctors navigate the thorny state of not being able to breathe on one's own. Being on a ventilator is always relational. The ward has very few ventilators and demand for them is high. The closer one patient comes to death, the closer another patient comes to an available ventilator and possibly life. I explain how people experience this bind, and detail how the ventilator breathes life not only into specific patients in Mumbai but also into survival economies of medicine, subjectivity, technology, and ethics.