“Twilight” rant 7: Carlisle doctoring Bella

by Jasper on May 31, 2009

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what's your opinion, doctor?

what's your opinion, doctor?

Carlisle is a good guy.

This may be the only thing that the Native American werewolves and the Volturi agree upon. Certainly Bella thinks that he’s great. Perhaps she’s biased. It must be handy to have a good looking sweet ER physician, who never tires or is short-tempered, hanging around when you’re a terrible klutz. Charlie bends over backward defending Dr. Cullen in book one. Really, everyone thinks that he’s marvelous. Listen to Jacob’s ringing endorsement in Breaking Dawn:

Carlisle Cullen. Looking at him without that hate clouding my eyes, I couldn’t deny that killing him would be murder. He was good. Good as any human we protected. Maybe better.

I like Carlisle too. I admire him really. It must have been hard growing up with such a tyrannical father. Then to suddenly be turned into a vampire: so much pain and shock and trauma! I can hardly imagine it. Moreover Carlisle was all alone for the whole thing. He didn’t have others to guide him during his first vampire year. He must have ironclad self-control to have avoided killing anyone in the bloodlust that I’m sure he battled. After her wretched birthday party at the start of New Moon, Bella asks him how he could resist her open, bleeding wound. He modestly replies, “Years and years of practice… I barely notice the scent anymore.” So there! He’s very tough.

But what about Carlisle as a physician? There’re a number of practical considerations: how did he manage to get the right credentials what with his advanced age? How does he work with his patients when humans generally have a natural aversion to vampires? Does he periodically return to medical school or residency training when he’s struggling to keep up with new advances in the profession? Did he ever lose it in the bloodbank?

My real question, though, is the one relating to that special “medical intervention” that Elizabeth Masen demanded for her son on her death bed. “You must do everything in your power. What others cannot do, that is what you must do for my Edward.” And the rest is history: Dr. Cullen vampirizes Edward.

But that’s not all. Later we learn that Dr. C changes Esme after her suicidal jump from the cliff. At Rosalie’s insistent request, he converts Emmet following his mauling by bears. Rosalie herself is “saved” after she’s gang raped and left for dead by this good doctor. He even offers to change Bella after high school, though that doesn’t prove necessary.

In Edward’s case, Carlisle clearly had his mother’s informed consent to change him. Edward himself was underage at the time (though he probably should have been consulted about the proposed procedure as he was seventeen.) In the cases of Esme, Emmet and Rosalie, Carlisle just went for it, not telling the patients anything until it was too late. To me this places these actions in an ethical gray zone. I do recognize that we’re dealing with life-and-death decision making here. There probably wasn’t time to go before the ethics board or get second opinions. But I don’t get the sense that the doctor really thought through the consequences of these actions afterward.

The details of informed consent aside, once one decides that emergency vampirization is reasonable, then it’s a short step to using it as an elective procedure. Remember, this is Carlisle’s plan for Bella. Why not expand the treatment to the general population? It’s clear that being a vampire has tremendous advantages: good looks, endless energy, strength, potentially eternal life in good health. Shouldn’t everyone get this bit of work done? There is the whole dining out problem to contend with of course. Though what medical treatment doesn’t have unwanted side effects? Apparently you can learn to deal with it if you work at it. Plus if we all got changed, there’d be nobody left to feast on, so we’d all be “vegetarian” by default. Problem solved!

How can Dr. Cullen withhold this life saving procedure from humanity? Maybe he’s not such a nice guy after all.

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Kirk Di Santi June 1, 2009 at 10:17 am

OMG!! I’m so psyched about the “New Moon” trailer on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSFMmkMfQ5Q

Can’t wait to see this movie!

You’re right Jasper, we should all become vampires!

Rita Tower June 1, 2009 at 10:28 am

Does he periodically return to medical school or residency training when he’s struggling to keep up with new advances in the profession? Did he ever lose it in the bloodbank?

<<<Good question, I wondered how he kept up to date on the lates medical advances too. It must have been challenging in the bloodbank but he had so much practice and control it seems like it was not too hard though.

But that’s not all. Later we learn that Dr. C changes Esme after her suicidal jump from the cliff. At Rosalie’s insistent request, he converts Emmet following his mauling by bears. Rosalie herself is “saved” after she’s gang raped and left for dead by this good doctor. He even offers to change Bella after high school, though that doesn’t prove necessary

<<All those cases seem so terrible, and maybe he wanted to give them a gift of some kind of pleasure as they didn’t get to fully live out a fufilling life. Bella may not have been fufilled either if she had to live in love with Edward as she aged and wilted and he stayed perfect. With Bella though she was unique cause she was begging to become one of them and the others didn’t have a choice. Maybe Dr. C thought they deserved more and he would guide them to becoming good vampires.

Why not expand the treatment to the general population? It’s clear that being a vampire has tremendous advantages: good looks, endless energy, strength, potentially eternal life in good health. Shouldn’t everyone get this bit of work done?
<<<<Good question–why not–we could all use a bit of eternal glamour!

There is the whole dining out problem to contend with of course.
<<True an advantage to being human is the constant lust for food and wine!!!!!!

Though what medical treatment doesn’t have unwanted side effects? Apparently you can learn to deal with it if you work at it. Plus if we all got changed, there’d be nobody left to feast on, so we’d all be “vegetarian” by default. Problem solved!

<<<Side effects suck, and it’s true if we were all vamps it wouldn’t be very interesting or challenging and we sadly couldn’t be foodies, instead we’d be killing animals all the time for our blood lust.
Carlisle is weird cause he’s so superior to the other vamps in an odd way, I don’t know if he was being a good doctor or not but he seemed like he wanted company and to gift those few people he changed a chance at some good experiences, like beauty and eternal youth and strength that they were never going to have a chance at with their strange death experiences.

Deby Wozniak July 8, 2009 at 2:39 am

Carlisle is selfish and lonely (not superior), that is why he takes Edwards life. Edwards mom was dying, she was only asking Carlisle to save Edward from a human point of view. She didn’t want him to feel her pain. Not turn him into a vampire! Dying words from a human to do whatever you can to save your child doesn’t mean turn them into a vampire. Carlisle did it out of loneliness. He is no martyr. Edward didn’t want this life. He wanted to die. He expected it!

I also think that is the main reason why Carlisle excepts Bella so quickly. He is guilty of putting Edward through 100 years of damnation.

Then on top of it…Carlisle discovers Esme. Now he finds true love. Edward’s damned and replaced. He now has to deal with living a life forever, being a vegetarian, and replaced by a person that Carlilse should have waited for to begin with. I’m not surprised he wandered for years on his own!

Now to Rosalie, she wanted a family; then Edward, but got none of the above. Emmet…who cares? Rosalie get’s the adoration (and probably great sex) from Emmet. Just not the family.

Dr C. is a very selfish man. He forms a family out of his own guilt.

Also, he remains a doctor because he is a fucking vampire! It probably takes him 20 minutes to get through new medical updates that would take humans months of classes.

Overall, Carlisle takes care of Bella out of guilt. Maybe it turned to love and respect for his gang over the years, but guilt is the major factor

Jasper July 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I agree with you that Carlisle is selfish. Though to me that’s not necessarily bad. He does selfishly help others at the local hospital to soothe his guilty feelings over being a vampire. That’s not that awful.

I don’t actually think that Rosalie really was into Edward. I just think that she wanted him to want her and was horribly disappointed that he never was into it. That’s very different and probably a sign that she needs some help.

Do you really think that she’s not into Emmett? I always thought that he and Rose worked well as a couple?!?

Deby Wozniak July 13, 2009 at 1:44 am

Yes, I agree that her and Emmet are made for each other. She is a tight ass bitch and he is an easy going guy who likes to have fun. He also worships everything about her. Rosalie likes attention. Edward would never give her the time of day (or night), so she found Emmet instead.

Emmet gives her everything she wants…except a child. That’s why in the last book she becomes “such good friends with Bella”. Imagine living forever and not being able to have your one desire…

Sorry, totally off the “Carlisle being selfish” story.

Jacob Black January 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

I love Jacob Black – Taylor Lauter is so cute!

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