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  #31  
Old Mar 8, '10, 11:57 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

A means is extraordinary if the patient is dying and all you're doing is prolonging the person's agony. If the person can live with the support given and would die if you take it away, then you may not take the support away. The support is not extraordinary.

I would suggest that you go to this page from the USCCB. It has a wealth of information.

http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/...as/index.shtml

Also, call the local Respect Life Ministry in your diocese. They have counselors that help you identify the different situations and the answers for each.

The Sisters of Life in NY are experts on these matters.

www.sistersoflife.org

You can write me by visiting either the website for the Brothers of Life

www.franciscansoflife.org or www.respectlifemiami.org

These are questions that require some information to give you answers that are helpful for your situation.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF
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How long have I waited . . .
  #32  
Old Mar 9, '10, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
If the person can live with the support given and would die if you take it away, then you may not take the support away.
If this is the true Catholic position.......

What your saying is that Catholics Church's position is;

...that if a machine is keeping someone breathing, they must remain on that machine until their heart finally stops on it's own or a terrible infection destroy's their body.

What's amazing to me, is that the catholic position actually over rules natural death.

On ventilator- person lives until an infection kills them or their heart stops.

Off Ventilator - person dies within hours, as their bodies are unable to breathe on their own.

I honestly didn't think that the Catholic Church insisted that it was sinful to not allow a machine to breathe for a person.

My mother tried for 5 months to recover from a horrific illness. She was on a ventilator for 3 months, her body deteriorated, her lungs seeped with infection. My mother chose to go off the ventilator. When the ventilator was shut off and my mother's own body was responsible for breathing, she died within 4 hours.

I would think that when the machine is turned off and the human body dies within hours, that the machine was providing extraordinary life support.

If the Catholic Church believes my mothers decision was a sin, I'm glad I have nothing to do with such a Church or even such a God for that matter..
  #33  
Old Mar 9, '10, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by Zatzat View Post
If this is the true Catholic position.......

What your saying is that Catholics Church's position is;
...that if a machine is keeping someone breathing, they must remain on that machine until their heart finally stops on it's own or a terrible infection destroy's their body.
What's amazing to me, is that the catholic position actually over rules natural death.
On ventilator- person lives until an infection kills them or their heart stops.
Off Ventilator - person dies within hours, as their bodies are unable to breathe on their own.
I honestly didn't think that the Catholic Church insisted that it was sinful to not allow a machine to breathe for a person.
My mother tried for 5 months to recover from a horrific illness. She was on a ventilator for 3 months, her body deteriorated, her lungs seeped with infection. My mother chose to go off the ventilator. When the ventilator was shut off and my mother's own body was responsible for breathing, she died within 4 hours.
I would think that when the machine is turned off and the human body dies within hours, that the machine was providing extraordinary life support.
If the Catholic Church believes my mothers decision was a sin, I'm glad I have nothing to do with such a Church or even such a God for that matter..
I would think a ventilator is extraordinary as well in this cirumstance. The Church isn't able to come up with every single possible senario. I think they want to make sure that life is respected and that people aren't euthanized when they can be saved. I don't see the merit in keeping someone in a hopelessly deteriorating condition, prolonging their pain and suffering, when clearly, their body is trying to shut down. I don't know about the Church's position on this specific example, but it would seem that if you have the right to refuse treatment for cancer treatment because you want the disease process to progress naturally, why would the church insist on a ventilator when someone wants the same in a similar circumstance?

A friend of mine had advanced emphesema and lung cancer and decided after years of fighting the disease, and suffering from the treatments on top of the disease, decided he wanted the disease process to occur naturally and take it's natural course. So they withdrew everything except fluids and oxygen. That guys mom was very active in the Marian Center and was very devout. She always had the council of priests and nuts at her side, and they didnt' see this as euthanasia...
  #34  
Old Mar 9, '10, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by frindro View Post
In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II discussed euthanasia and condemned it. Removing a ventilator kills a patient and is done to kill the patient - it is euthanasia and is morally wrong. What Pope John Paul II thought could be justified though was refusing treatment that is exceptionally burdensome. The types of treatment that can be refused seem to be those that prevent one from being physically aware or active. Refusing the treatments does not in itself cause death, although receiving the treatments might lengthen life. The question is whether or not it is proportionate to lengthen life with the treatment or not. The patient who refuses treatment is about to die and refuses treatment not with the intention of dying or to shorten life, but to live out their life in consciousness and being physical able. A justifiable refusal of treatment is not euthanasia since it does not kill the patient.

Cristiano was right - removing the ventilator is euthanasia since it is a willful act to kill a sick person.

Nutrition and water are ordinary measures - these are the types of treatment that Pope John Paul II was referring to when he said those could not be taken away. Removing these things causes death.

For further explanation, see the BBC.
I do believe brain death has to have occured for the removal of a ventilator to not be considered euthanasia. Death to the body by other means..i.e. removing a feeding tube, stopping water, food sources is euthanasia and willful murder of the patient. If some persons only knew the circumstances behind the doctor's questioning, and the true state of the loved one possibly more people would not be unwittingly killed without the proper knowledge of their families to what is going on.. My mother was described as brain dead when we chose to stop her feedings,and take her ventilator from her in May of 2008. It was not because we chose for her to die, but that she had died on her transport to the hospital once she was placed in the helicopter to transfer her to another hospital. She received the last rights before her surgery however, and she had confessed her sins to a priest before hand.She was as the priest had put it, ''a state of God's grace'', even though she could not speak because of a breathing tube being placed in her mouth and down into her lungs while receiving the blessing before the transport. Right before the transport, they removed the ventilator and used a manual pump to assist in her breathing. But nonetheless she died because of a heart attack on the way to another hospital. And was physically dead and her soul had left her body. And in that respect she was not euthanized. If a person has the ability to think, reason feel emotion and respond to words then that person is being euthanized if their food, water, air is being taken from them.
  #35  
Old Mar 9, '10, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by Rence View Post
I would think a ventilator is extraordinary as well in this cirumstance. The Church isn't able to come up with every single possible senario. I think they want to make sure that life is respected and that people aren't euthanized when they can be saved. I don't see the merit in keeping someone in a hopelessly deteriorating condition, prolonging their pain and suffering, when clearly, their body is trying to shut down. I don't know about the Church's position on this specific example, but it would seem that if you have the right to refuse treatment for cancer treatment because you want the disease process to progress naturally, why would the church insist on a ventilator when someone wants the same in a similar circumstance?

A friend of mine had advanced emphesema and lung cancer and decided after years of fighting the disease, and suffering from the treatments on top of the disease, decided he wanted the disease process to occur naturally and take it's natural course. So they withdrew everything except fluids and oxygen. That guys mom was very active in the Marian Center and was very devout. She always had the council of priests and nuts at her side, and they didnt' see this as euthanasia...
God does not condemn your friendr's actions nor do I. If by some means that your friend knew /heshe could take the pain no longer and the doctors said that heshe was already dying then it is understandable that he/she go off the ventilator. I had asked my mother once, ''What do we do if you are on a ventilator and unable to speak for yourself? What should we do? Keep you alive by artificial means or allow you to pass away?'' She said, "When I can no longer function on my own without the aide of machines, and cannot comprehend what is going on around me, and I am basically a vegetable, remove my tubes and let me be with God, because you are only keeping a heart pumping at that point. Not a soul or the person that I was." And even if your friend was alive, and refused ventilation because /heshe wanted to die without oxygen supplimentation..it isn't a sin. And in God''s eyes if this person can't stand the pain of their failing body then it is ok to pass away naturally.Without a ventilator. God has no such vindicitive motives as to punish those who choose to not lengthen their days by artificial means. No matter who says someone should be kept alive like a vegetable. This is not ordained by God. When God wants to reclaim your soul He will, if you are on a ventilator or not To prolong suffering is also wrong and inhumane treatment of a human life and soul..
God Bless and be with you.
Mary1173
  #36  
Old Mar 9, '10, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by mary1173 View Post
I do believe brain death has to have occured for the removal of a ventilator to not be considered euthanasia.
You are mistaken.

If a person chooses to have mechanical respiration discontinued, it allows for natural death to occur, as their body is unable to survive without the mechanical intervention of ventilator.
  #37  
Old Mar 9, '10, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by Zatzat View Post
You are mistaken.

If a person chooses to have mechanical respiration discontinued, it allows for natural death to occur, as their body is unable to survive without the mechanical intervention of ventilator.
Brain death occuring means that even if the person is on a ventilator they will die and their organs will fail the same way as if they chose to go off of the ventilator. The only thing that was asked is if it was euthanasia to allow someone to die if they could survive and live a long life and recover from that illness. In that case it is. When brain death or terminal conditions persist or present themselves in advanced stages it is alright to refuse the extraordinary means to keep a dead or dying body breathing by means of a machine.

My mother made her wishes clear that when her body gave out she did not want to be kept alive by extraordinary means. Natural death means that the person 's heart stops or they are considered brain dead. Whether or not they are on machines to help them breathe or not. You should ask JReducation more about this one..Natural death does not mean refusing treatment that might save your life and make it possible to live longer upon this earth. If the friend is terminal and is dying or in the throws of death, and things as severe illness occurs, then yes, that person may choose to not take in supplimental oxygen/ ventilators, but that doesn't mean that what I have stated is incorrect. Brain death and your heart stopping ARE considered natural death. Not the act of refusing treatment when you are still alive and will live because you received the treatment.
  #38  
Old Mar 9, '10, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frindro View Post
In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II discussed euthanasia and condemned it. Removing a ventilator kills a patient and is done to kill the patient - it is euthanasia and is morally wrong. What Pope John Paul II thought could be justified though was refusing treatment that is exceptionally burdensome. The types of treatment that can be refused seem to be those that prevent one from being physically aware or active. Refusing the treatments does not in itself cause death, although receiving the treatments might lengthen life. The question is whether or not it is proportionate to lengthen life with the treatment or not. The patient who refuses treatment is about to die and refuses treatment not with the intention of dying or to shorten life, but to live out their life in consciousness and being physical able. A justifiable refusal of treatment is not euthanasia since it does not kill the patient.

Cristiano was right - removing the ventilator is euthanasia since it is a willful act to kill a sick person. You do much harm by by being misinformed I remove patients from ventilators,I work in intensive care picu/nicu/icu, let me just say each case should be judged individually.Had a family years ago that anguished over taking their son off life support/ventilator, catholic priest arrived and stated all this equipment was not necessary if God wanted to provide a miracle, family was absolved and patient died peacefully, in this case life support would not have changed the outcome.I am under the impression that christian theology ask that terminally ill patients at the end of their life be kept comfortable,pain controlled? starving and dying of thirst is not comfortable? ALL cases should be reviewed individually and have a priest assess the situation? a priest SHOULD BE INVOLVED, please do not take forum answers as definative?

Nutrition and water are ordinary measures - these are the types of treatment that Pope John Paul II was referring to when he said those could not be taken away. Removing these things causes death.

For further explanation, see the BBC.
  #39  
Old Mar 9, '10, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by mary1173 View Post
When brain death or terminal conditions persist or present themselves in advanced stages it is alright to refuse the extraordinary means to keep a dead or dying body breathing by means of a machine.
Thank's for clarifying your position, now I understand exactly what you're saying.
  #40  
Old Mar 9, '10, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

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Originally Posted by Zatzat View Post
Thank's for clarifying your position, now I understand exactly what you're saying.
That's alright, I had to ask my Mom what was considered natural death as opposed to unnatural. Unnatural means of existence are being on machines when brain waves are no longer present in a person, even if they are receiving oxygen and tube feeding. Death also occurs when the heart stops, because the act of cpr has to be used to restart the heart. A lot of the time the heart just gives out and it cannot be restarted. The left ventricle contains nerve endings that keep the heart beating. When they become so damaged that the heart can no longer function, then natural death occurs because the heart can no longer pump blood throughout the body.The heart muscle then dies, and so does the patient. [That's what happened to my Mom. She's with God now. She has to be..with all the time she spent keeping me alive and healthy she has to have gotten the ok from God to enter into His kingdom! Now I keep myself alive for the sake of all that she did and for the chance to be with her again in Heaven.Once my job here is done. To evangelize and teach about God's good news to the people of earth. Whoever would like to listen and come koin our church.And to those who do not wish to join the church because of undecidedness, you are wellcome to learn at a distance, and welcome to join [hopefully you will choose to.] if you change your mind.

God Bless
Mary1173

Last edited by mary1173; Mar 9, '10 at 5:28 pm.
  #41  
Old Mar 9, '10, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zatzat View Post
If this is the true Catholic position.......

What your saying is that Catholics Church's position is;

...that if a machine is keeping someone breathing, they must remain on that machine until their heart finally stops on it's own or a terrible infection destroy's their body.

What's amazing to me, is that the catholic position actually over rules natural death.

On ventilator- person lives until an infection kills them or their heart stops.

Off Ventilator - person dies within hours, as their bodies are unable to breathe on their own.

I honestly didn't think that the Catholic Church insisted that it was sinful to not allow a machine to breathe for a person.

My mother tried for 5 months to recover from a horrific illness. She was on a ventilator for 3 months, her body deteriorated, her lungs seeped with infection. My mother chose to go off the ventilator. When the ventilator was shut off and my mother's own body was responsible for breathing, she died within 4 hours.

I would think that when the machine is turned off and the human body dies within hours, that the machine was providing extraordinary life support.

If the Catholic Church believes my mothers decision was a sin, I'm glad I have nothing to do with such a Church or even such a God for that matter..
Not exactly what I'm saying. Let me try to say it using different words.

But before I go on, allow me to say that I'm sorry to hear about your mother's death. I understand your concern, because I was faced with the same choice when my seven-year old son was in a fatal car accident that killed by wife, father and destroyed my son's brain.

When my son was taken to the hospital his brain was damaged to the point that there was no way of surviving. He was alive with the help of technology. I had to decide to keep him on life support or turn off the machines. In that case, there was no hope that he would live and all the evidence suggested that he was breathing because the machine was doing it, not his brain.

In that case, it is perfectly moral to turn off the machine and let nature take its course. If a person is alive and his only disability is respiratory (we're talking about a ventilator), then there is a question here. The moral question is whether the person can live with the machine, albeit with a disability. If the person can live, then it raises a moral concern. Are we killing the person?

On the other hand, if as you said, the person has such severe complications that all the machine is doing is prolonging the inevitable or the machine is causing hardship, then there is no moral oblgiation to continue that level of care. It becomes extraordinary.

What the Church wants to make sure is that we don't jump too quickly to call something extraordinary just because we're using technology. The purpose of technology is to help save and preserve life. Therefore, the use of technology to save or to preserve life is not extraordinary. The use of technology in a situation that is hopeless is extraordinary.

I have to add here that I'm not a medical ethicist. We should always look to medical ethicists and moral theologians for clarifications. I would encourage anyone who has such a question to do the same. It is impossible to address every specific situation through a post on a thread/forum.

I strogly suggest that anyone with such a question call their local office for Respect Life Ministry, see a theologian, deacon or priest, or contact the Sisters of Life or Priests for Life. They are experts in these matters.

www.sistersoflife.org and www.priestsforlife.org

I hope these links may be helpful to someone, because I know how difficult these issues can be when they catch us by surprise. I was caught off guard when I had to face this question regarding my seven-year old son. Mercifully, my wife and father, who were also in the car, died on impact. But turning off that machine on my seven-year old was the most heart-wrenching decision that I have ever had to make and would not wish it on my worse enemy.

All that being said, the Catholic Church's guidance on this question was very helpful and full of compassion for my son, my two surviving children and me. The Catholic Church's positions on life issues are neither ruthless nor cold. On the contrary, anything that stems from the truth about God is very gentle and gives great peace, even when there is a great loss.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF
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Fraternally,

Brother JR, FFV

"Forget not love."


How long have I waited . . .
  #42  
Old Mar 9, '10, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

I haven't the words to express how sorry I am to have heard the kind of loss you've suffered.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify the position, it's much clearer now.

Regards

Zat
  #43  
Old Mar 9, '10, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

inserted my reply incorrectly...into middle of former post, anyway please be aware that each person/pt involved in end of life decisions is unique in their needs and physiology, not everyone has the same definition of what life is and in turn have different thoughts about do not resusitate request, I have witnessed and agonized over so many end of life scenarios,I feel I have not sinned by turning off the ventilator,I feel professionally and spiritually absolved and I do have faith that all rest in peace and await heaven, a heaven with no pain and filled with love and joy I have been at this for twenty years and honestly cannot remember most the names, then their face or their situation comes to mind, sometimes it weighs heavily on me but I take solace in the fact I was their to provide comfort to them and their family God bless all you that have lost loved ones.
  #44  
Old Mar 9, '10, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zatzat View Post
I haven't the words to express how sorry I am to have heard the kind of loss you've suffered.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify the position, it's much clearer now.

Regards

Zat
I'm so glad that it's clearer now. I have to say that my life has been peaceful. In fact, I discovered my second vocation through this experience. After raising my two surviving children I could clearly see God's plan for me. I became a Franciscan Brother of Life. After completing my religious formation and getting my degree in theology I have done nothing else but minister to people who grapple with life decisions: end of life and abortion too. It's painful to watch people go through this, but it is also a blessing when we can be just a little pencil in God's hands and watch God sign his name on someone's heart, a name that says, "I love you."

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF
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How long have I waited . . .
  #45  
Old Mar 9, '10, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: Is it sinful to remove a ventilator?

Quote:
A means is extraordinary if the patient is dying and all you're doing is prolonging the person's agony. If the person can live with the support given and would die if you take it away, then you may not take the support away. The support is not extraordinary.
That is not the definition of "extraordinary means" that I recognize.
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