unfortunately our family has had more experience than anyone should have on this issue of dealing with end stage cancer. for us hospice has been the exact opposite of euthanasia. it is standard medical treatment in hospitals that is the real horror, as the end stage patient becomes an experimental subject for all kinds of therapies, which are not going to help in the least, increase pain instead of ameliorating it, lengthen the misery of their condition beyong the natural time of death. Unless he has signed a DNR and living will, or a healthcare power of attorney, the family is helpless to do anything about it. If he has, he is allowed to die without adequate pain management and often to literally die of thirst and hunger.
In hospice pain is managed properly, hydration and nutrition are maintained, the process of dying is respected, and the patient is allowed to experience natural rather than engineered death. the problems with hospice care usually result from family members–sometimes competing with each other–try to manage the situation rather than letting the hopsice staff do their thing. for some reason, the relatives need to work out their own guilt over problems in the relationship with the patient through trying to take charge of the disease and management of the care.
the 4 relatives I am speaking of all died of something other than their cancer, heart failure or stroke, but we did learn the beauty and healing power of the dying process. do not fear death as the enemy when your loved one is battling a mortal disease. recognize and accept the Church’s beautiful teaching on the truth about death, new life and resurrection. come to know the power of redemptive suffering, and witness the immense spiritual growth that can happen during this time, for the patient and the family.
sorry about no capitals but I am typing with braces on and cant manage shift key, will go back and fix typos now. you see, I am still typing and we have an edit function, but there comes a time in life when the time for remedying past errors has run out. then it is time to let the holy spirit take over and let Christ effect the healing, and that is what dying a natural death is all about. whether it is sudden or prolonged, if God is in charge there is nothing to fear.