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  #1  
Old Jun 13, '12, 8:38 am
scc11 scc11 is offline
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Default Implanted Defibrillator

This may sound like a really weird/random question but I was wondering what the church's teaching is on things like implanted defibrillators, pacemakers etc? You may be wondering why I am asking but I know that some argue "well, if something happens like an irregular heart rhythm and you are supposed to pass, then the defibrillator would prevent that and you would be preventing that" and others would say defibrillators are ok. I had a defibrillator implanted when I was 17 and am curious what it falls under in terms of end-of-life/medical ethics.
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  #2  
Old Jun 13, '12, 9:07 am
marty1818 marty1818 is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

There's no problem morally with pacemakers or implanted defibrillators.

Quote:
"well, if something happens like an irregular heart rhythm and you are supposed to pass, then the defibrillator would prevent that and you would be preventing that"
Using this logic you could argue that a person who has cancer should not try to treat it because it's automatically their time to pass. Obviously it's okay to try to treat the cancer. If they are truly meant to pass away then the treatment will fail, otherwise it will work.
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  #3  
Old Jun 13, '12, 10:45 am
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

As long as the function of the device is to correct a disorder of the natural functioning of the body rather than to disrupt this natural order, these things are fine from a Catholic perspective.

As far as one's "time to pass" goes, first of all human death is a physical evil and so is never a simply good thing to be embraced. Certainly a greater good can come of it, otherwise God would not permit it, but the fundamentally evil nature of human death must not be forgotten.

Furthermore, while the hour of each of our deaths is known to God and is in a sense a part of His plan for Creation, we should not seek to hasten this hour of death by forgoing treatments available to us. Access to a pacemaker, for example, is something that divine providence has given to a person. Should the person decide to accept the pacemaker and it allows them to live longer, that just means that the "set" hour of the person's death is in fact farther in the future.
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  #4  
Old Jun 13, '12, 10:50 am
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Tarpeian Rock Tarpeian Rock is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

It does raise an interesting "natural law" question, though. Apparently it's OK to interfere with the "natural law" in matters like defibrillators, anesthesia during childbirth ("In pain shalt thou bring forth your children....."), transplants, surgery, etc. -- but when it comes to contraception, not so much. Yes, I understand that one is preserving life, and the other, preventing it, but still........
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  #5  
Old Jun 13, '12, 11:28 am
GEddie GEddie is online now
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

There is nothing morally wrong with preserving life. If there were, even handwashing and CPR, never mind these electronic gizmos, would be disallowed. Human life is a good and so protecting it is a good.

Because human life is a good, deflecting the body's natural purposes to prevent new life is wrong. It's not a theological mystery, you guys

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  #6  
Old Jun 13, '12, 11:33 am
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarpeian Rock View Post
It does raise an interesting "natural law" question, though. Apparently it's OK to interfere with the "natural law" in matters like defibrillators, anesthesia during childbirth ("In pain shalt thou bring forth your children....."), transplants, surgery, etc. -- but when it comes to contraception, not so much. Yes, I understand that one is preserving life, and the other, preventing it, but still........
The term "natural law" means that "law" of right and wrong which can be known through natural reason, as opposed to things that can only be known through the acceptance of divine revelation. Things like transplants, surgery, pacemakers, defibrillators, etc. do not violate this natural law.
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  #7  
Old Jun 13, '12, 11:36 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarpeian Rock View Post
It does raise an interesting "natural law" question, though. Apparently it's OK to interfere with the "natural law" in matters like defibrillators, anesthesia during childbirth
They do not "interfere with the natural law". I would suggest the book 50 Questions on Natural Law: What It Is and Why We Need It by Rice.
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  #8  
Old Jun 13, '12, 11:38 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

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Originally Posted by scc11 View Post
and you are supposed to pass
You would have a point there if the Church taught that any sort of predestination/determination when it came to "your time to pass" but the Church does not. There's no such thing, in the way that you mean. God's foreknowledge does not mean he wills people to die much less die at a specific time.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #9  
Old Jun 13, '12, 2:59 pm
meltzerboy meltzerboy is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarpeian Rock View Post
It does raise an interesting "natural law" question, though. Apparently it's OK to interfere with the "natural law" in matters like defibrillators, anesthesia during childbirth ("In pain shalt thou bring forth your children....."), transplants, surgery, etc. -- but when it comes to contraception, not so much. Yes, I understand that one is preserving life, and the other, preventing it, but still........
I think the key difference is what you've already stated: one is preserving life and the other is preventing it. This is not two sides of the same coin.
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  #10  
Old Jun 13, '12, 10:00 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Implanted Defibrillator

Quote:
Originally Posted by meltzerboy View Post
I think the key difference is what you've already stated: one is preserving life and the other is preventing it. This is not two sides of the same coin.
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