Where clergy need to tread: Helping make end-of-life medical choices (COMMENTARY)

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Holding hands in a hospital bed.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Olson via Shutterstock

Holding hands in a hospital bed.

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(RNS) Even a perfunctory visit to a hospital ward, ER, home for the aged, hospice or medical clinic brings a clergyperson face-to-face with the staggering ethical problems our health care system is creating.

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  • Emily H. Filer, CVA, L.H.D.

    One of the best ways to confront these ethical issues, in my opinion, is to start with oneself. I believe it needs to be REQUIRED for any Clergy and persons who offer care in the hospital, hospice, etc. fill out their own living wills and advance directives prior to employment and/or patient contact. Included in this requirement would be a full educational requirement, including end of life choices.

    I am DNR (do not resuscitate)/DNI (do not intubate). You need to know that when you go into the ER, the default position is FULL CODE, regardless of injury. Is this what you really want? Your answer may be different as you age and see for yourself what that means.

  • Unless you are expected to die from end-stage disease your DNR would not be honored in the ER. If your medical conditioned became worse in the hospital, then your DNR would be respected. Ethically, healthy people are to be resuscitated.