Case Study on Death and Dying
The medical and religious world has different views when it comes to death. Most religions believe that once one dies their nature is transformed and they gain the spiritual nature and in this, they reunite with their maker. In the medical world, death is said to be the end or cessation of life and is characterized by the absence of or someone who has sustained an irreversible cardiac and spontaneous respiratory functions (Keubler-Ross, 2014). In this paper, I will use the Christianity and Muslim religion to explain George’s malady and suffering. The Christianity categorizes death into physical and spiritual. The physical death in Christianity is the one where the state or the functioning of the body is rendered not functional like in the scientific method through the failure of the cardiac and respiratory function. The spiritual death, on the other hand, means that a man is separated from God and according to Christian’s people who die a sinner dies the physical and the spiritual death while the one that dies repented suffers the physical death, but they remain spiritually united with their God. In Muslim death is said to be the termination of the life in this world and marks the beginning of afterlife (Brockopp, 2004). Death is viewed as a painful experience in Muslim and is said to be the separation of soul and body.
In Christianity, there is a common question that comes when one suffers from illness and other human condition, and that is “if God loves us, then why do we suffer?” this mostly comes up when christens goes through grief, tragedy and chronic illnesses. At some point people what to know that the suffering and the pain they go through matters to God. Suffering, however, produces intimacy with God and the Christians believe that there are openings in the soul that happen when one is going through a hard time and this makes Christians experience God in profound levels and deeply. Suffering also makes people have the spirit of comforting others and allows Christians to minister more effectively. Those people who are suffering need comfort and support from people who have suffered to show them that there is hope. However, Christianity believes that at the days of the end God will bring Diseases as a way of punishing people due to their sins and immorality. This is characterized as signs of the end. Muslim, on the other hand, sees health as an extraordinary blessing. They also view illness as also a special gift they say that being sick are at trials, and it could be a source of many blessings in disguise. They state that Allah created suffering and heartache so that the strong hearted and true believers can come out of this situation even stronger. They state that those with a statement of good health and an ill health they have a chance of showing how a good health is a blessing.
George condition with ALS is a difficult condition as with its progression he would lose control of his muscles, the ability to speak, eat, move, and even breathe. Losing control of all this in somebodies lives makes their life unbearable and difficult to manage. The health budget in the United States is highly constrained by the chronic health conditions as they cannot be cured and the management cost of the conditions is way high. Christians believe that life is a gift and that only God has the right to take it away. It also views life as not an individual’s gift, but God’s gift to the world and they say that God created man in his image and likeness and therefore birth and death are important processes of one’s life, and they should not be interfered with. Christians believe that one should not kill and it is stipulated in the Ten Commandments. Killing can either through murder or suicide which could be through euthanasia, and the Christian world does not advocate for such as it interferes with the natural process of death. The point of death in the case of George is meant to ease the pain and the suffering that he is to go through when his condition advances. It is, however, important to note that the bible says that the final judgment and the final solution should be sought from God and not taking matters into our own hands. Muslim also are against euthanasia, and they believe that life is sacred as Allah gives it and that Allah is the only one who chooses how long one should live and human beings should not interfere with this. Euthanasia is not included in the reasons that allow for killing in the Islamic religion. Muslim does not believe in taking people’s lives except in the interest of justice. In the Islamic code of ethics, it states that it is futile to diligently keep the patient in a vegetative state by heroic means, but this only focuses on the process of maintaining the patients alive. This, therefore, means that doctors can choose to stop prolonging life in situations where they feel there is no hope of the patient coming through.
The ALS condition has no cure, and therefore this leaves George with only one way out, and that is death. The medical rules in some states have allowed for euthanasia through the signing of the euthanasia consent form by the patients if they feel that their condition will at one point become unbearable and therefore making the ultimate choice of ending their lives (Episcopal Church, 2007). This, however, contradicts the religious views of life and therefore making the whole issue debatable. One of the values that can be considered in such a case is the cost of maintaining the condition. The cost of maintaining ASL is way high as the patient is not in a position to do anything for them and all the life activities are under peoples care. The condition also goes to the extreme when one has to be under ventilator care, and this is way too expensive to bear. Most of the time the patients that decide to go the individual euthanasia way they way all the factors that include the social, physical and the emotional issues they might encounter when dealing with the conditions well as the financial implication the situation will have on them (Oosthuizen, Shapiro & Strauss, 2008). The main point being euthanasia is the unbearable pain that a patient endures and that most of the medical doctors and the family may decide to take action and reduce the pain and the suffering the patient goes through (Larue, 2006).
Christianity morally justifies that death should not be someone’s thought but should come naturally. This means that George should not have thought of taking his own life even if the situation forced him to think otherwise. In most cases, the bible states that the final solution should originate from God and therefore fail to wait for the final decision of the solution from God, therefore, means that people take action to our own hands and therefore going against the will of God. It is also against the commandments of the bible and therefore doing this makes on a sinner, and therefore they do not die the physical death, but they also disconnect from their maker through the spiritual death as sinners. In Muslim also thinking of euthanasia is a crime and the religion does not advocate for such. It greatly values life and therefore the fact that George was thinking of euthanasia makes him not obey the guidelines of the Islamic religion.
Personally, I feel that some conditions allow for euthanasia. I have worked in a medical institution as a nurse, and I have seen patients go through a lot of pain and suffering and therefore making the situation very painful to me as a nurse and the family. This breaks the family to see their family member complain and suffer great pain when they are ill or when they are in terminal condition. I feel that love should not let someone let their family member endure or go through pain if that feel that they can eliminate the situation. Death is inevitable and therefore if the medical doctors have assessed a patient’s condition and they feel that the condition cannot be improved forms any scientific method. I feel it is logic for them to help the patient rest from the pain and suffering rather than sit and watch them go through a lot of pain.
Brockopp, J. E. (2004). Islamic ethics of life: Abortion, war, and euthanasia. Columbia, SC: Univ. of South Carolina Press.
Episcopal Church. (2007). Assisted suicide and euthanasia: Christian moral perspectives: the Washington report. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.
Keubler-Ross, E. (2014). On death & dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy & their own families. New York: Scribner.
Larue, G. A. (2006). Euthanasia and Religion: A survey of the attitudes of world religions to the right-to-die. Los Angeles, CA: The Hemlock Society.
Oosthuizen, G. C., Shapiro, H. A., & Strauss, S. A. (2008). Euthanasia. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.