Friday, June 12, 2009
Fighting The Odds
People with strong religious beliefs appear to want doctors to do everything they can to keep them alive as death approaches, a US study suggests.It appears aimed at taking pot shots at religion as it quotes other studies and statistics:
Researchers followed 345 patients with terminal cancer up until their deaths.
Those who regularly prayed were more than three times more likely to receive intensive life-prolonging care than those who relied least on religion.
However, work has been done which suggests that intensive intervention in the last few weeks and days before death may reduce a patient's quality of life.Are they trying to make us look foolish? Perhaps. In fact probably likely, and I think they have a point, up to a point. Of course, as Christians we value life more than almost anything else, but we also know that there is life after death - certainly for adults that have had the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ. So, why the fight. Is it because we have hope beyond the odds? well, we certainly have that.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that treatments such as ventilator support, resuscitation, having a feeding tube and non-palliative chemotherapy were associated with more psychological and physical distress.
The patients' chances of dying in their preferred place were also reduced.
It may also be because we are capable of love more intensely, thus we feel loss more sincerely. But then, do we make decisions to prolong the life of a loved one artificially because of our inability to cope with the loss, or because it is better for them? And therein lies the questions. It is a huge question about who is making these decisions - often they are not made by the patient themselves.
Having had to, in the last few years make these decisions for someone other than myself, let me just say that the hardest thing is to think about them and not yourself. And yet, it is the most necessary thing.
We may want to keep them, when God wants to take them home. If you are confronted with these decisions, please do not let your own needs cloud God's voice. It's not about you.