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Pastoral Counseling and Care: When to Pull the Plug?

Pastoral Counseling and Care Regarding Extraordinary Measures and Means

One is not ethically bound to preserve life if life is continued through extraordinary means

One is not ethically bound to preserve life if life is continued through extraordinary means

As disheartening as it may be, there may be a time when we have to make an ultimate decision about a family member.  The decision could be to allow the person to remain sustained via articial measures or allow them to pass away naturally.  Far from assisted suicide, and well within Christian norms of Pastoral Counseling and Care, one can make the decision that frees a family members from the bondage of suffering.  The person has fought the good fight and carried his cross finally to his personal Calvary, now he is permitted to die with Christian dignity and respect.  Simple?  Never.  But sometimes letting go may be the kindest and most selfless act of charity a family member can do for someone who has no hope of recovery and is sustainted by extraordinary means.


David Crosby and contributing writers talk about this type of situation in the article “Allowing a Natural Death is Faithful Care for Terminally Ill”.  (GreaterNewOrleans)

A friend of mine sustained brain injuries in a motorcycle accident in August. He never regained consciousness after the accident. Several weeks after the accident his physicians, chaplains, social workers and family members met to discuss a pivotal question about his care. How long should he remain connected to the machine that was breathing for him?

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