Tuesday, August 18, 2009

End-of-Life Counseling in the US

This is an interesting article. I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. This have been very busy. My brother got married on Saturday. It was a beautiful day. My grandmother, who is very frail, made it out. That was very nice. It really made my day. She can rarely leave the home where she now resides, so this was very special.

Like my grandmother, many people are quite old and frail. In the United States, they are now looking at a bill which would pay doctors to have talks with patients concerning end of life issues. Of course, this in and of itself is not a bad thing. Catholic teaching would encourage people to consider end of life issues, especially the state of their soul. Also, people must decide how extraordinary the level of care they would like in case of great illness.

In the absense of any information, medical personnel must presume that a person ought to receive an ordinary level of care at the minimum. Anything less would be immoral. Therefore, food and water, and basic medical care must be provided. There are many ethics concerning this issue in Catholic teaching.

The fear I have about something like this is our culture of death. The culture of death promotes euthanasia and suicide as good ways to die, but they are contrary to Christian morals. Some people say we ought to have the right to die as we see fit. I believe our life is sacred and that we do not take our own lives just as we did not give ourselves lives. We owe everything, including our lives to God, and he chooses what we do with it.

But another more down to earth issue about this is that a lot of older people are being pressured into assisted suicide. Relatives complain about how much they must spend on their dying relative, how much time and effort they must put in. The elderly person feels very guilty and bad about this. Then the elderly person mentions assisted suicide. The same people who made her feel guilty are all too happy to show her the literature concerning assisted suicide and encourage her to do it. The elderly person feels the most compassionate and loving thing to do is to give up her life so that she is not so much of a burden. The last thing any elderly person wants is to feel guilty.

If someone wants to commit suicide, whether you call is assisted suicde, euthanasia, or anything else, there is a serious reason. No one just decides to kill themselves for something to do. I believe the only good reaction to this is to help them and counsel them and reassure them that their life is valued and that God loves them, not that they are a burden and disposing of them makes everything easier.

Let's stand up for the sick and elderly, and let them know they are loved. Help them, don't kill them.

End-of-Life Counseling Had Bipartisan Support - ABC News

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