Where do we find comfort in life and in death? Is not a search for this comfort at least part of what is involved in activities like organ donation, invito fertilization, writing a living will and in considering euthanasia?
We often treat dying like an enemy to be avoided and battled against. If we are told that one of our vital organs is failing and our death will result unless we get a transplant, then it makes sense that we seek comfort in the possibility of a transplant. If a loved one has been involved in a serious accident and is on life support machines dying, some of us look for comfort in the idea that our loved one’s organs may be able to be used to give life to someone else. When it comes to living, most of us at some point in our lives desire to have children. It can be very distressing when no children come. How many of us look for comfort in invitro fertilization? Many of us have watched loved ones, or heard stories of people, who live in much suffering and pain in the latter days of life. Do we seek to find comfort in protecting ourselves from having to endure such pain, through the use of living wills and euthanasia? To what extent are we to seek comfort in things such as these?read more
A friend commented on my posting titled, Personhood – Which Comes First Death of the Body or Departure of Soul?. In this posting I said that, so far, our society agrees that a person must be dead for vital organs to be taken. My friend pointed out that if a person is unresponsive and sure to die very soon, that there are people who do not have a problem with taking vital organs, even among Christians. Some will agree that this may result in the person dying sooner but will think that this in not really a problem because the person is going to die anyway. The questions presents. If a person is unresponsive are they really there? Most people’s experience, or lack thereof, may permit them to accept that an unresponsive person is not really there.read more
By a living will I am referring to instructions written out by a person to give direction to others about health care decisions in the event the person becomes unable to speak for themselves.
Writing in a way that will clearly be interpreted by others, as you intend your instructions to be interpreted, can be a problem. Consider the following exert from a living will.
If I become incapable of expressing my wishes and my physicians declare me to have a condition from which I will not recover, then I wish to have all life prolonging procedures withheld, including, but not limited to, artificial nutrition and hydration, and life support including intubation and ventilation.read more
Recently I was asked to comment on health care surrogate forms and power of attorney for health. For these I use the term living wills. These are directives that a person records to be used in the event that they become unable to communicate their wishes with respect to medical decision making. This seems fairly simple. Don’t we know how we would want to be treated? Some might say, “I never want to live, unable to communicate, in a nursing home” and record in their directives that they are never to be placed in a nursing home.. Should we be making decisions like this about our future? What if the Lord’s good plan for our life includes the very thing we direct people never to do? See my blog posting titled, Living Wills – Never put me in a nursing home.read more