Monday, March 21, 2005

Terry Schiavo and "orthodox" view

A reader named Eric has sent this opinion which is relevant right now to the dilemma or removing or keeping the feeding tube for Terry Schiavo in Florida. Please see our ethics issue (Jan/Feb 05) for more in-depth focus on medical ethics that can help us think through these important issues.

Here are Eric's comment:
Recently, I read a devotional book by Roberta Bondi, she teaches at Candler. She deals indirectly with dying with dignity issue. Her Aunt was about to be forced to go through an orthopedic surgery through which she had little chance of survivial. Bondi halted the surgery and a morphine drip was begun instead. Having dealt with geriatrics for thirteen years and watching families and patients, I don't know that I can keep my integrity and hold an "orthodox" opinion on this matter. I simply can't understand why it is seen as an evil to withdrawal unnatural means of sustaining life. God made the human body to live under certain conditions.

Why would some legislate that I choose "all available means" to be a faithful Christian, when God didn't design the body to resist extreme conditions. I am not saying that a Christian should not choose all available means, but where can I stop. I think we need to allow others in the community of faith the freedom to decided how best to guard the image of God. In theory, each new medical advance would place new ethical obligation on the family and patient. Perhaps God's image in us is much more than the physical body, but perhaps resides in the spirit that returns to God.
Join us in reviewing articles in our ethics issue and in discussing here on Wineskins Blog.


Rick J said...

I've been struggling with this as well. As is usually the case when an issue like this rises to this level of general public awareness, those who have political points to make choose up sides and roll the dice. Whatever happened to the concept of breathing one's last and being gathered to one's fathers? It sounds as if many of our public faces who claim "Christian" motives hold the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to be the highest good. How did we get to a place where heroically extending this physical life (seems like it's called a "vapor" somewhere) has become THE Christian position? Seems to me that what we do with the time we have is much more significant than how much time we have. I'm not much happier with the political posterings of "the right to choose death" crowd either, but at least they aren't claiming kingdom values to support their argument. I'm pretty sure I can't predict which choice Jesus would make in this case, but I'm equally as confident his response would surprise me... and others as well.

Clarissa said...

I don't struggle with the feeding tube issue -- it is an extreme measure to have a feeding tube. Refusing this woman food and water which she is quite capable of swallowing? I DO have a problem with that ...