Assisted Death – Conscience Rights, Bystanders & Responsibility

Have you ever reflected on the Holocaust of WWII and wondered how a country of people, not much different than you and I, ever become involved in the extermination of millions of Jews.  Part of the answer lies in  the fact that people are often bystanders.  Writer Paul Hilberg tells us,

Many people . . . saw or heard something of the event. Those of them who lived in Adolf Hitler’s Europe would have described themselves, with few exceptions, as bystanders. They were not “involved,” not willing to hurt the victims and not wishing to be hurt by the perpetrators.[1] read more

Palliative Care in a Culture of Death – Some Thoughts.

Caring for a dying person can be difficult.  Caring for a dying person in our culture, a culture increasingly focused on death, can be doubly difficult, especially when questions of hydration, feeding, and assisted death come up.   In our culture, we seem to easily forgo feeding.  The mantra has been that dehydration is a comfortable way to die.  And now, if things become uncomfortable we have sanctioned ending life with medical killing.

Let me share a story based on a real life.  The themes are the same.  The details are changed to respect privacy.  (note – Among other things this story refers for feeding tubes and IVs.  It is not a definitive guide on their use in palliative care.  The best approach depends on each situation.  This story is only one situation and is meant to stimulate thought an discussion.) read more

I Believe – A Confession, A Clarification

I am compelled to comment on my recent blog posting, Assisted Death – Conscience Rights, Bystanders & Responsibility.

In this post, I began by suggesting there was a similarity between the Holocaust of WWII, the killing of unborn by abortion, and now the killing of sick and suffering.  I also quoted Martin Luther as an example of following one’s conscience, in spite of great risk of personal harm.[1]  Although, I think Martin Luther’s stand against the organized church of his day had merit, I think my choice of examples was poor. read more

Assisted Death – Normalizing Killing In Palliative Care

According to the  World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care…affirms life and regards dying as a normal process…intends neither to hasten or postpone death…. [1] read more