I think this is a very under-discussed topic in today’s health/medicine intelligentsia. How far should we go to preserve our lives with extreme measures after we can firmly determine such efforts will be futile and inflict misery?
As we can see from the data, most Americans want to die at home with minimal intervention, but more often than not, medical professionals cajole them into hospital stays and “life-saving” interventions.
Would Doctors Use the Shock Paddles on Themselves?
Is this the case for the doctors themselves, though? What do physicians, who witness every angle and aspect of how we die, do when they become terminally ill?
Well, it turns out . . . not as much as normal Americans. Check out this eye-opening (albeit 11 years old) article from a doctor who shuns all the unnatural life-preserving mechanisms we regularly inflict on the elderly/infirm.
Basically, the gist of that article is this:
1) Doctors perform way too many unnecessary and brutal procedures in the hopes of eeking out a few more weeks of life for a patient. It’s expensive and downright torturous to the frail folks approaching death’s doorstep.
2) Family members acquiesce to hyper-interventionism out of hysteria. In stark contrast to previous generations, nowadays, family members lose their minds when a relative is about to die.
3) Doctors have tons of incentive to over-treat with the most invasive procedures for fear of malpractice reprisal as well as economic gain (risky procedures really bring in the old Medicare Gravy).
4) Any doctor whose been around this for more than a week knows darn well they would NEVER allow it to be done to themselves.
Therefore, doctors wisely avoid the rotten, intrusive, and frankly violent procedures inflicted onto most American elderly, end-of-life.
Once again, we as Catholics and decent human beings need to reflect on this over-emphasis on harsh end-of-life treatments like chemo, open-heart surgery, and even CPR. Perhaps we call it “end-of-life” for a reason: your life is supposed to end and you should willfully embrace it.
The saints did not accept drastic “life-saving” zombie life support. As much as I and other Catholics value good health and fitness (hence the blog title), it’s a wicked kind of idolatry and self-worship to preserve one’s life AT ALL COSTS.
Let us, instead, return to the holy strategy of memento mori (remember your death), and not subject ourselves or loved ones to the excessive mortality aversion of 21st-century deathcare.