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
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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.