web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Important Conversations about Health Care


Articles in the media are recommending a certain kind of “conversation.” In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010, Michael Vitez describes in detail how a palliative care team brought a family into a comfortable living room for repeated discussions about their mother who had been hospitalized for confusion and falling. Over and over again, they were offered the choice of discontinuing her “aggressive” medical care, but the family held out. They continued her medical treatment.

But in spite of the fact that their mother eventually woke up and went home, the family is not being held up as a good example. Rather, their decisions are being questioned. The article implies, look what they put her through, look how much it cost. A palliative nurse is quoted as having raised a “hard question,” whether her treatment was worthwhile, because maybe she’d end up in a nursing home.

The contrast with our Jewish beliefs could not be greater. We believe that life is precious in or out of a nursing home. In fact, we believe that the treatment would be worthwhile even if it just extended her life for a few minutes. Moreover we believe that omitting this woman’s treatment would have been tantamount to murder.

Make no mistake. This is a war of ideas.

The reasoning of the palliative nurse and the innuendos in the newspaper article about the woman’s suffering and the expenses are, to us as Jews, completely unacceptable.

Since, to us, letting her die would have been equivalent to murder, it is truly preposterous to assert that sending anyone to a nursing home is so terrible that a family should consider letting a patient die for that reason.

Even the palliative care nurse doesn’t really believe that. Would they agree to put to death everybody who needs a nursing home? Of course not.

But, having long, seemingly intimate discussions with medical professionals on various questions like this confuses a family, and is intended to create a feeling that it would be rude to refuse to compromise.

So what if the expenses were so high? That happens sometimes in a difficult case. They paid their premiums. They’re entitled to treatment. That’s what medical insurance is supposed to do – pay for expensive treatment.

Why does our society take the amount of the bill so seriously? No one would claim that we don’t need all this expensive testing equipment in the hospital. It doesn’t really cost the hospital a large amount every time they use the equipment. Her test didn’t wear the machine out. It will still be there for others. The amount paid for her treatment didn’t really go just for her treatment – it funds the hospital which is doing all sorts of good things for other patients as well.

Families facing this sort of pressure shouldn’t think, “We are being selfish. We’re making our loved one suffer and costing society a bundle to satisfy our own beliefs.” That is the secular view.

Instead, they could be inspired to think, “G-d loves the Jewish people. He gave us the rules that are the best not just for us but also for the entire world. It is not for the doctor or any human to determine when someone will die. We are not allowed to acquiesce in the taking of a human life or to sign a document to deprive a human being of what he needs to survive. Maybe my loved one will die or maybe he will live, but that is not my choice. All I can do is follow the Torah.”

The important questions for the family to consider should be: “Which Rabbi should I tell about my loved one’s medical problem so that he can help us if we have a medical decision to make?” “Has my loved one signed a halachic health care directive indicating that he wants to be treated according to Jewish law as interpreted by our Rabbi?” “If my loved one ends up in a nursing home, how can I make his life as happy as possible?”

Our job is to help our loved ones get medical care, visit them, take care of them, encourage them, and pray for them.

Our Rabbis will know what questions to ask.

The modern “ethicists” think they are qualified to make definitive decisions on these high-level questions of life or death, but without the Torah, they are unable to do so. By claiming otherwise, they are actually spreading dangerous confusion.

Jewish families should be aware that they can get these halachic medical directives from Agudas Israel of America.

May our actions in taking care of our loved ones give us the merit to have our prayers answered for a cure for them, and may the time be soon when illness will disappear.

Barbara Olevitch, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist living in St. Louis, Missouri and author of Life is a Treasure: The Jewish Way of Coping with Illness

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Important Conversations about Health Care”

  1. Richard Korkiakoski says:

    FDA approves computer chip for humans

    updated 10/13/2004

    ‘Part of the future of medicine’

    As “medically mobile” patients visit specialists for care, their records fragment on computer systems that don’t talk to each other. “It’s part of the future of medicine to have these kinds of technologies that make life simpler for the patient,” Ellis said. Pushing for the strongest encryption algorithms to ensure hackers can’t nab medical data as information transfers from chip to reader to secure database, will help address privacy concerns, he said.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday announced $139 million in grants to help make real President Bush’s push for electronic health records for most Americans within a decade.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6237364/ns/health-health_care/t/fda-approves-computer-chip-humans/

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest Sections Stories
Collecting-History-logo

An incredible child protégé and a world chess champion, Boris Spassky (1937- ), best known for his “Match of the Century” loss in Reykjavík to Fischer, will always be inexorably tied to the latter.

book-super-secret-diary

Who hasn’t experienced how hard it can be to fit in?

In our times, most of us when we pray, our minds are on something else-it is hard to focus all the time.

The participants discussed the rich Jewish-Hungarian heritage, including that two-thirds of the fourteen Hungarian Nobel Prize winners have Jewish origin.

Today’s smiles are in the merit of my friend and I made a conscious effort to smile throughout the day.

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

More Articles from Dr. Barbara A. Olevitch

Articles in the media are recommending a certain kind of “conversation.” In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010, Michael Vitez describes in detail how a palliative care team brought a family into a comfortable living room for repeated discussions about their mother who had been hospitalized for confusion and falling. Over and over again, they were offered the choice of discontinuing her “aggressive” medical care, but the family held out. They continued her medical treatment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/important-conversations-about-health-care/2012/08/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: