This is a beautiful article in the NYTimes about dealing with end of life issues and palliative care. I think the doctor featured in the article is pastoral in his approach to patients and their families; I wish more doctors had his insight and intuition. This is not about “death panels” or “right to die,” this is about the patient and treating them with the respect they deserve while giving them the most effective care possible – even if that means no treatment at all. As Jews, we are not allowed to hasten death, but neither are we obligated to prolong it (which is simplifying this dictum, but you can google more complex details if you want).
I obnoxiously sent the link to this article to every clergy person I know, Jewish or not. I think more pastors need to take this doctor’s approach.
Isn’t it sad that we tend to reduce death and bereavement to simplistic, divisive issues like the “right to die” debate? And overlook the healing, sometimes even triumphant nature of the whole process.
Thanks for your post, and blog! :)