Friday, November 13, 2009

Fr Tad on euthanasia

In May of this year, we suddenly discovered that my mother, age 74 had terminal cancer. We experienced some of what that Fr Tad discusses in this article in The Pilot about palliative care vs euthanasia. Relieving pain may shorten the life of a dying person, and make them addicted,  but it is NOT euthanasia. Fr Tad says,
" Pain management is a serious, if not central obligation for health care professionals and for all who care for the dying. Although we may never choose directly to cause death by using high doses of pain medication, such medicines may be given to dying persons, even if the successively higher doses required for effective pain remediation may indirectly end up shortening their life. Good hospice or palliative care diligently seeks to provide effective, but not excessive, pain medication."
My father often found the Palliative Care Team in a Catholic hospital woefully ignorant about Church teaching on end of life issues. For example, they called Terri Shindler Schiavo "Brain dead" and thought that her dehydration murder was merciful. Mercy had no place in her death; it was horribly painful.
 We have much to learn about enf of life issues, but the question is, are we interested?
Will it be too late when Obamacare comes in and anwers those questions for us?
Is that what we want, keep enjoying our TV shows and live for today lifestyles and not being bothered to think and read up on these issues, leaving them to a hospital when the time comes?
Not a good idea. Someday it may be you that is cut off without recourse.
I was asked by a non-believing relative; "Isn't death what Catholics look forward to? I mean, why the fuss, if you go there a little sooner?" The answer I gave was we want to go when God sends us and not a minute sooner. We all have a job to do on earth, even if some of it is suffering in a hospice. My mother offered up her suffering for this person as she died in the last four months of her life. Two days after her death, he baptized his young children. That time Mom had to suffer, and she did offer it for him, was part of her mission for her life. We had no right to shorten her life intentionally and deprive her of this magnificent act of sacrifice.
Life is precious to its last moments.
 I described Mom's happy death in my column at Catholic If you love someone who is terminally ill, give them the dignity of a happy death. It will be your last act of love for them.

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