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The Line Between Living and Dying

Wesley Smith brings to our attention a policy in Great Britain to refuse life extending treatment to cancer patients because it is merely “extending the dying process”.

There is no reason to keep treating terminally ill patients with multiple therapies when the patient sees no benefit. However, if the patient sees that an additional six months of life is worth the discomfort and cost of the therapy, why should he be refused? Exactly where does one draw the line between the process of living and the process of dying. None of us is getting any younger so using the British health service logic, we are all in the process of dying.

This same argument was used to justify removing the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo. Though there was no continued deterioration of her physical functioning, she was declared to be in a dying state and therefore continuing to feed her was only “extending the dying process”. In truth, Terri Schiavo was living in a profoundly disabled state. She was not dying.

May God have mercy on us and protect us from bioethicists who promote such a utilitarian view of living.


Rosemary Bogdan said…
This is indeed horrific, but not surprising, in some ways. We're on the slippery slope. Stroke victims are being denied food and water. Alzheimers patients are not being given food or water, once they've lost the ability to swallow. The new scary part of this development is that the treatment is denied, even if the patient expressly wants it.

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