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Archive for September, 2014

 

Death Panels Redux?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine is entitled: Dying in America. Among other things, it documents how poorly Americans understand their options at the end of life. The IoM recommends that doctors get paid for having end-of-life discussions with their patients. This idea was unpopular back in 2009, and led some to accuse the government of trying to establish “death panels,” designed to limit treatment options and to ration health care.

But this is a distortion. According to the IoM report:

The [2009] provision would have reimbursed clinicians for the time spent in advance care planning with patients. Such conversations would have included discussion of the documents that can help ensure that patients’ wishes regarding care are followed in the event they become unable to express them (source listed below).

Recent polls have show that the majority of Americans strongly support such discussions, and a growing number have established advance directives for themselves and their loved ones. Nonetheless, a recent Forbes article makes the alarming claim that death panels are “on the rebound.” Why all this suspicion?

The main reason may be that advance directives (e.g., living wills or durable powers of attorney for health care) are not perfect, and they are not always honored. A patient’s prognosis is not always easy to predict. And families are sometimes reluctant to go along with their loved ones’ wishes, even when they are clearly stated.

Yet for all of these concerns, greater clarity in the face of serious illness is not a bad thing. In our technologically-advanced society, we are often able to keep the bodily shell alive, which merely prolongs the dying process. For people of faith, this is unnecessary, for a better life awaits us.

We should all have advance directives – and doctors should be paid for advising us about them.

Dying in America

Forbes Online Article

Slippery Slope: Euthanasia in Belgium (30)

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, amid reassurances that the practice would be used only under desperate circumstances. In the U.S., where euthanasia is illegal, many feared a “slippery slope” similar to the Netherlands. In this podcast, my special guest is Dr. Douglas Anderson,Professor of Pharmacy Practice. We comment on a disturbing new trend to use terminal sedation as a form of euthanasia in Belgium.

Journal Article

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To listen, just click on the player below (click on the Audio MP3 button if the player doesn’t appear).

Religious Freedom Summit Coming to Cedarville

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan
Religious freedom is under assault in our nation today. The battle line has been drawn between a Christian voice in public affairs and a naked public square, devoid of spiritual values. Your personal liberty and rights of conscience are at stake.
An outstanding group of key leaders will discuss this important topic on October 9th and 10th at Cedarville University. Headlining the event is Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby. 

Cold Buckets and Wet Blankets

Friday, September 5th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

As many of you know, the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” has gone viral. Folks all over the world are dumping ice water on their heads to raise awareness and money to fight Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This is a neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause that leads to progressive muscle paralysis. The bucket-dumpers are donating money (or avoiding it), and posting their videos on YouTube and challenging others to do the same.

And it’s working – the Ice Bucket Challenge is fun, millions have participated, and it has greatly raised awareness of the disease. More importantly, the ALS Association has seen a huge uptick in donations, resulting in more than 40 million dollars in new funding.

Hmm, but there are a few caveats. Some people are just shooting a video to get noticed, and have no intention of giving any money. As a pastor friend of mine recently blogged, “if you say you are ‘raising awareness’ of ALS and not giving money to fight it, you are just starring in your own video.” Of greater concern is the fact that ALSA helps to fund at least one research project that destroys human embryos for their stem cells in the search to find a cure. And destroying human embryos destroys human lives made in God’s image. It is the moral equivalent of murder, and our money should not support it.

Yes, but that just adds another dimension to the problem. It seems to me that a lot of pro-life Christians are going to see this as a convenient excuse to do nothing. They may hypocritically choose to keep their wallets closed, all the time sanctimoniously claiming they are defending human life.

So here is my own Ice Bucket Challenge: I am giving $100.00 to the ALS Association, but I will specify that my money not be used for research that destroys human embryos. And I would love for you to do the same: Get involved and give sacrificially to the research cause of your choice. The American Heart Association could use your help, or perhaps the Parkinson Foundation, or the American Diabetes Association. When you do, specify that your donation not be used for immoral research that destroys human embryos.

All of us are suffering under the effects of the fall of Adam. That’s why we all need a Savior. So let’s show our Christian compassion for one another, and defend the sanctity of life at the same time. That seems like a “win-win” situation to me.

Please watch the video – and see whom I call on to join me in the challenge!

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