How does religion influence beliefs about end-of-life care?

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  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    June 23, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    I was surprised that nobody mentioned the Hospice option. I've sat at the dying bedside of both my parents and my father-in-law under hospice, and this merciful service is wonderful. The final costs are not catastrophic, and they were quite capable of ensuring the patient's comfort to the end.

    Once the patient comes under hospice control, the suffering just stops. No more heroic measures, surgeries, therapy, or any other medical effort are required to prolong life. The one goal is to replace pain with peace.

    In each case, the hospice workers treated my family with both skill and love in a home-like environment. Nurses and doctors joined clergy and family members in praying for the patients and family as the dying loved ones quietly slipped into eterity.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    June 22, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    This isn't about "death panels." The question was whether a doctor should be able to end a patient's life upon the request of the patient (or their family if incapacitated).

    I attend church every week and frankly while I understand the results on some level, if your faith includes a belief in agency, I can't see why you'd want to prevent a doctor from fulfilling the wishes of a dying patient or the patient from having the ability to decide when to end his/her pain.

    BTW, while I trust that The Scientist does attend church every week with his beloved, I have no doubt that he'd poll outside the norm for the weekly church going demographic on most questions. I happily join him on this one.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 22, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    In my experience, religion has led some to believe they have the right to override the beliefs and wishes of the dying and this only prolonged suffering. The believers were quite satisfied, though. By interfering they had kept alive their bid to get to heaven.

    Make sure you put your end-of-life wishes in writing.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 22, 2014 5:19 a.m.

    It is very easy to want extraordinary and expensive measures when dealing with end of life issues, when it is someone elses $$.

    Medicare is going broke. Anyone who takes a look at how to make Medicare solvent, would very quickly focus on the amount of money spent in the the last 6 months of a patients life.

    Harsh reality is that we DO need some form of Death panel.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    As often as not, makes it worse I expect.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 21, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    If we truly value one's right to practice their religious or irreligious beliefs, then there would be no controversy over end of life decisions.

    If someone who is not going to recover in advance wishes to have his/her life continued, it ought to be their choice. No church should interfere. Unfortunately for most of us, the Catholic Church in America controls a great many hospitals. And physician assisted suicide or any other measure that ends life is strictly forbidden.

    Hope I am at home in the end so that my wishes will be carried out.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    June 21, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    I attend weekly LDS meetings, but I strongly support "death with dignity". I guess I'm an anomaly.

    I know of no scriptural or doctrinal prohibition against death with dignity (not that it would matter to me if there was).

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 21, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    The general religious value of supporting life is a good one. Faith gives hope, which is a positive ingredient in people recovering from serious illness.

    However, extending life when the outcome is known and the prognosis is terminal is very, very expensive, and a prime reason why we spend almost 20% of our GDP on healthcare (while not getting everyone treated).

    Maybe there could be a "two-tier" coverage model:

    1. for insurance companies and Social Security there could be a point where additional payment is not required, as the cost of extending life another two weeks runs well past $100,000 (for example)

    2. Past that point churches or other charities could pick up the costs, where medical science has determined the outcome is certain, and terminal.