Euthanasia, organ donor, cremation?


#1

My brother had a stroke, became braindead, and the doctors proclaimed nothing else could be done.

My brother decided ahead of time to be taken off life support if it came to this, to donate all his organs, and to be cremated.

I was always taught that "pulling the plug" is not really moral... but can someone explain this to me? Why is life support so incredibly unaffordable? It was necessary for him to die to donate his organs. Is this also sound with Catholic morality? And cremation is ok, right, as long as they aren't scattered into the ocean or anything like that?

Also, please pray for his soul. He passed away this morning. I trust in God's mercy despite whatever decisions he made, though the situation has caused me to wonder about these things...


#2

I am very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your brother. May God grant you His peace. May the Divine Light of Christ shine on your brother forever.

Extraordinary medical care, including life support is not a moral imperative. A person can choose to refuse any type of medical care, particularly invasive or thoroughly artificial treatments. It is even permitted for people to make such a choice ahead of time. Thus, in certain cirsumstances, it can be morally permissible to "pull the plug" on artificial life support machines. However, this can never apply to food and hydration, which can normally never be denied.

Organ donation and cremation are also permitted. However, the remains must be treated with respect and, in the case of cremation, the ashes must be kept together and interred. They cannot be divided, set on the fireplace mantel, or spread somewhere.


#3

**Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus nunc et in hora Mortis Nostrae!

mark**


#4

Unfortunately, the law no longer thinks this way as feeding tubes and hydration are now seen as extaordinary medical care that can be removed if a person is thought to be a vegetable.


#5

[quote="rpp, post:2, topic:196871"]
I am very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your brother. May God grant you His peace. May the Divine Light of Christ shine on your brother forever.

Extraordinary medical care, including life support is not a moral imperative. A person can choose to refuse any type of medical care, particularly invasive or thoroughly artificial treatments. It is even permitted for people to make such a choice ahead of time. Thus, in certain cirsumstances, it can be morally permissible to "pull the plug" on artificial life support machines. However, this can never apply to food and hydration, which can normally never be denied.

Organ donation and cremation are also permitted. However, the remains must be treated with respect and, in the case of cremation, the ashes must be kept together and interred. They cannot be divided, set on the fireplace mantel, or spread somewhere.

[/quote]

Thank you for your very precise and succinct answers!

.


#6

[quote="rpp, post:2, topic:196871"]
I am very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your brother. May God grant you His peace. May the Divine Light of Christ shine on your brother forever.

Extraordinary medical care, including life support is not a moral imperative. A person can choose to refuse any type of medical care, particularly invasive or thoroughly artificial treatments. It is even permitted for people to make such a choice ahead of time. Thus, in certain cirsumstances, it can be morally permissible to "pull the plug" on artificial life support machines. However, this can never apply to food and hydration, which can normally never be denied.

Organ donation and cremation are also permitted. However, the remains must be treated with respect and, in the case of cremation, the ashes must be kept together and interred. They cannot be divided, set on the fireplace mantel, or spread somewhere.

[/quote]

Ah, ok. Thank you. It all makes sense now :)

And thank you all especially for the prayers.


#7

[quote="rpp, post:2, topic:196871"]

Extraordinary medical care, including life support is not a moral imperative. ** A person can choose to refuse any type of medical care,** particularly invasive or thoroughly artificial treatments. It is even permitted for people to make such a choice ahead of time. Thus, in certain cirsumstances, it can be morally permissible to "pull the plug" on artificial life support machines. However, this can never apply to food and hydration, which can normally never be denied.

Organ donation and cremation are also permitted. However, the remains must be treated with respect and, in the case of cremation, the ashes must be kept together and interred. They cannot be divided, set on the fireplace mantel, or spread somewhere.

[/quote]

(Bolded part above) is not entirely correct, as I read it. We cannot choose to refuse any type of medical care, unless we are "dying"; perhaps that's what you meant. Yes, heroic measures can be refused, but "any" is not necessarily correct, unless you meant any type of extrodinary medical care in a terminal patient.

Refusing extrodinary care for a patient who has a relatively good chance of recovery, for example, is a different matter, such as someone who is in a car accident and has life-threatening internal damage that requires immediate extensive surgery.

Problematic is the patient who is in a state of permanent dementia who keeps pulling out feeding tubes. The question is in such a patient, "is it a moral imperative to keep putting in feeding tubes 5,6,7 times daily and/or sedating them into almost a coma to maintain feeding and hydration?"

The answer lies in the other factors in the patient's health status; not a single one of these patients exists in a vacuum. Is the patient terminal, etc. are things that need to be considered.

Some patients fall between the lines of clear morality in their medical choices; that's why moral theologians struggle to help us understand the application of Church teachings in this area.


#8

quote="Newbie2, post:7, topic:196871" is not entirely correct, as I read it. We cannot choose to refuse any type of medical care, unless we are "dying"; perhaps that's what you meant. Yes, heroic measures can be refused, but "any" is not necessarily correct, unless you meant any type of extrodinary medical care in a terminal patient.

Refusing extrodinary care for a patient who has a relatively good chance of recovery, for example, is a different matter, such as someone who is in a car accident and has life-threatening internal damage that requires immediate extensive surgery.

Problematic is the patient who is in a state of permanent dementia who keeps pulling out feeding tubes. The question is in such a patient, "is it a moral imperative to keep putting in feeding tubes 5,6,7 times daily and/or sedating them into almost a coma to maintain feeding and hydration?"

The answer lies in the other factors in the patient's health status; not a single one of these patients exists in a vacuum. Is the patient terminal, etc. are things that need to be considered.

Some patients fall between the lines of clear morality in their medical choices; that's why moral theologians struggle to help us understand the application of Church teachings in this area.

[/quote]

Problematic is the patient who is in a state of permanent dementia who keeps pulling out feeding tubes. The question is in such a patient, "is it a moral imperative to keep putting in feeding tubes 5,6,7 times daily and/or sedating them into almost a coma to maintain feeding and hydration?"

I think that one would have to witness their (" OWN beloved child, wife or parent") entirely removed from peg feeding tubes and hydration before any one can make an objective view on such actions. Such actions are often seen as cruel and only add to the terminal suffering which has been proven. Removing a terminally ill dying loved one from all pain is the objective goal of letting a person die in dignity.

I fully support this premise: Originally Posted by rpp;

Extraordinary medical care, including life support is not a moral imperative. A person can choose to refuse any type of medical care, particularly invasive or thoroughly artificial treatments. It is even permitted for people to make such a choice ahead of time. Thus, in certain cirsumstances, it can be morally permissible to "pull the plug" on artificial life support machines. However, this can never apply to food and hydration, which can normally never be denied.


#9

Agreed, this is precisely the point.


#10

quote="Newbie2, post:7, topic:196871" is not entirely correct, as I read it. We cannot choose to refuse any type of medical care, unless we are "dying"; perhaps that's what you meant. Yes, heroic measures can be refused, but "any" is not necessarily correct, unless you meant any type of extrodinary medical care in a terminal patient.

Refusing extrodinary care for a patient who has a relatively good chance of recovery, for example, is a different matter, such as someone who is in a car accident and has life-threatening internal damage that requires immediate extensive surgery.

Problematic is the patient who is in a state of permanent dementia who keeps pulling out feeding tubes. The question is in such a patient, "is it a moral imperative to keep putting in feeding tubes 5,6,7 times daily and/or sedating them into almost a coma to maintain feeding and hydration?"

The answer lies in the other factors in the patient's health status; not a single one of these patients exists in a vacuum. Is the patient terminal, etc. are things that need to be considered.

Some patients fall between the lines of clear morality in their medical choices; that's why moral theologians struggle to help us understand the application of Church teachings in this area.

[/quote]

We are not morally required to get any medical treatment for any medical condition, whether it relates to dying, or a broken leg. A person can refuse any type of medical treatment in any situation and that decision is not inherently immoral. Do not confuse immoral with imprudent.

While it may not be immoral for me to choose not go to the emergency room after slicing open my hand on some broken glass and am bleeding profusely, it would be extremely imprudent.

About two and a half years ago, I began to have to seriously look at the end of life issues as my father was dying. I now look after my elderly mother and these topics are not far from my mind.

One other important point. While I can morally choose to refuse medical care, or explain to doctors that my mother refuses medical care, it would be immoral to deny medical care to someone who wants it for capricious reasons.


#11

Just wondering, on cremation...I'm thinking that cremation is okay, so long as you dont spread the ashes, because its keeping the body 'in tact'...and you want to respect all its parts..

But then I come to the thought of, well if you are 'burning' the body..then thats not really respecting all of its parts???

Can someone please elaborate on this topic??


#12

This is a controversy among modern vs traditional Catholics. I myself desire not only to not cremated, but that I not even be embalmed and, unless I am the victim of a crime, do not want to have an autopsy.


#13

how about donating organs? how does that fit into respecting your body by "keeping it all together"?

Though charity is the fulfillment of divine law... and it wasn't wrong for martyrs to allow their enemies to pluck their eyes out, etc...

correct me if I'm wrong.


#14

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Good one Sabriner-

You know just when I thought I had this whole thing figured out theres always some new, lol, something ... now I'm going to be pondering these issues for the next week watch..

I'll even be driving and be deep deep in thought...its like once I realize theres something I'm not 100% sure about I can not rest..Being Catholic is dangerous I'm telling you :D


#15

[quote="rpp, post:12, topic:196871"]
This is a controversy among modern vs traditional Catholics. I myself desire not only to not cremated, but that I not even be embalmed and, unless I am the victim of a crime, do not want to have an autopsy.

[/quote]

I too support the Catholic Churches views on a more traditional burial if at all possible.
Increasingly I see the Undertaker business as a huge money racket especially with huge companies involved in this profession. In Canada the average funeral itself cost between $8,000 and $12,000 with pretty well all the amenities. However; the high price of the burial land plot is not even considered in the funeral. Not every family of the deceased is prudent enough planning their burial estate nor can many afford such. Coupling funeral costs along with burial land plots can easily cost the average person $20,000 dollars. Then in Canada after a cool 20 grand the federal government rakes-in their slice of the pie by slamming the deceased family with a sizable tax. Gee; thanks for living.

Sounds like a lot of money that I will never have living the life of a popper.
From a Catholic stand-point I duly recognize the respect to a deceased body in a Christian Catholic burial. I think Extreme Unction a beautiful Sacrament.
As a former Sacristan I've witnessed more Requiem Masses than I can count.

As a popper at least when I die I won't have concern myself where the government lays my carcass. No disrespect but I guess I really don't care where or what they use it for.


#16

[quote="sabriner, post:13, topic:196871"]
how about donating organs? how does that fit into respecting your body by "keeping it all together"?

Though charity is the fulfillment of divine law... and it wasn't wrong for martyrs to allow their enemies to pluck their eyes out, etc...

correct me if I'm wrong.

[/quote]

Organ donation is permissible, even laudable, provided that death is not artificially accelerated in order to harvest the organs. "Keeping the remains together" refers specifically to the treatment of the ashes of those cremated.


#17

[quote="centurionguard, post:15, topic:196871"]
I too support the Catholic Churches views on a more traditional burial if at all possible.
Increasingly I see the Undertaker business as a huge money racket especially with huge companies involved in this profession. In Canada the average funeral itself cost between $8,000 and $12,000 with pretty well all the amenities. However; the high price of the burial land plot is not even considered in the funeral. Not every family of the deceased is prudent enough planning their burial estate nor can many afford such. Coupling funeral costs along with burial land plots can easily cost the average person $20,000 dollars. Then in Canada after a cool 20 grand the federal government rakes-in their slice of the pie by slamming the deceased family with a sizable tax. Gee; thanks for living.

Sounds like a lot of money that I will never have living the life of a popper.
From a Catholic stand-point I duly recognize the respect to a deceased body in a Christian Catholic burial. I think Extreme Unction a beautiful Sacrament.
As a former Sacristan I've witnessed more Requiem Masses than I can count.

As a popper at least when I die I won't have concern myself where the government lays my carcass. No disrespect but I guess I really don't care where or what they use it for.

[/quote]

I understand your concern. Two and a half years ago, when I was taking care of my father after his death, I learned that the cheapest coffin cost $2,000!!! For a wooden box!!! :eek: That is why I am plan on making my own coffin. A good friend has also asked me to make her coffin for her.


#18

[quote="rpp, post:17, topic:196871"]
I understand your concern. Two and a half years ago, when I was taking care of my father after his death, I learned that the cheapest coffin cost $2,000!!! For a wooden box!!! :eek: That is why I am plan on making my own coffin. A good friend has also asked me to make her coffin for her.

[/quote]

Excellent idea. However; as it is in my life it would be difficult to afford even that luxury.

My avenue of thinking is far more cheaper in the lines of a $100,00 body-bag and maybe a trip to the landfill site or hospital incinerator.

My apologies; its just a matter of frustration with no disrespect to beautiful sacrament of Extreme Unction.

I've been a Brother Knight for almost 18 years ("third degree")
With struggling terminal health diabetes and pancreatic cancer I tried applying twelve years ago for Insurance from the Knights of Columbus, after blood and urine tests and a physical I failed the requirements. Nothing against my Brother Knights. Such is understandable when applying for any life insurance.

But I won't let this worry me, I'm in Gods care and that's all that matters.

Fraternally Yours In Christ
Chris.


#19

[quote="centurionguard, post:18, topic:196871"]
Excellent idea. However; as it is in my life it would be difficult to afford even that luxury.

My avenue of thinking is far more cheaper in the lines of a $100,00 body-bag and maybe a trip to the landfill site or hospital incinerator.

My apologies; its just a matter of frustration with no disrespect to beautiful sacrament of Extreme Unction.

I've been a Brother Knight for almost 18 years ("third degree")
With struggling terminal health diabetes and pancreatic cancer I tried applying twelve years ago for Insurance from the Knights of Columbus, after blood and urine tests and a physical I failed the requirements. Nothing against my Brother Knights. Such is understandable when applying for any life insurance.

But I won't let this worry me, I'm in Gods care and that's all that matters.

Fraternally Yours In Christ
Chris.

[/quote]

Chris,

I am heartbroken to hear of this. My prayers are with you and your family.

Please PM me if I can help in any way.


#20

[quote="rpp, post:19, topic:196871"]
Chris,

I am heartbroken to hear of this. My prayers are with you and your family.

Please PM me if I can help in any way.

[/quote]

My prayers are with you too, Chris :)


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