For discussion: A time to die

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Questions for reflecting on and discussing the feature article, A time to die (May 26, 2014 issue) 

May 21, 2014

1. Have you participated in any end-of-life decisions? Under what conditions would you consider withholding possible treatment for yourself or a family member? How would you respond to a loved one’s request for assisted suicide? Why are we so reluctant to talk about death?

2. Evelyn Rempel Petkau observes that, “with ever-advancing research, technology and medical interventions, the ways we define the beginning and end of life have become blurred.” What are the implications of this blurring of the lines? When is it right to avoid medical interventions? Should cost be a factor in making these decisions?

3. Steven Fletcher, who is paralyzed from the neck down, wants the option of assisted suicide, saying, “I would have a lot of comfort in knowing that I had options.” What does this statement say about his desire for control and fear of suffering? How do you respond to his perspective?

4. Have you had serious end-of-life discussions with your family? What role can the church play in encouraging these discussions? Does your community have good palliative care options?

--Posted May 21, 2014

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