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Thread: Artificial Life Support

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    Artificial Life Support

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if I could get some thoughts and perspectives on artificial life support...if a physical life can be sustained with the use of machines, should it?
    By physical life I mean simply its mechanisms. Assume, for the sake of argument, that this person who is being sustained has a slim to none chance of regaining their faculties which would allow them to live a life of action, communication, or anything of the like.
    Given that life support is expensive for the family members of this individual, what of their plight?
    Does not necessity and their quality of life matter as well and, given the nature of life support, they'd be drained of resources which would potentially claim the family's quality of life.

    I wonder, then, how one could face this issue: God is surely the one who gives and takes away and are we incorrect to offer life support to those who cannot be sustained otherwise?
    What then of the chance an individual on life support might recover?
    Would you invoke the argument that the one on life support is one of "the least of these" to whom we are to give every effort to preserve and honor?

    I understand this issue isn't black and white, I would simply like to know some different opinions on the matter.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    I think it is up to the family if the person themselves cannot make the decision. I don't think God has a problem unplugging someone who is in a coma and won't recover, from breathing machines. But I draw the line at feeding tubes. If the person is living on their own and just needs food fed to them because they cannot feed themselves, even in a coma, I don't support withholding the food and starving them to death.

  3. Amen Christianbookworm, Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lepidopter View Post
    God is surely the one who gives and takes away and are we incorrect to offer life support to those who cannot be sustained otherwise?
    If taken to an extreme, this would suggest that Christians should not see doctors because seeking medical care would be trying to extend life.
    Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions. - Ecclesiastes 7:10

  5. Amen Cerebrum123, Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Christianbookworm's Avatar
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    Besides, if God wanted that person to be dead, they would be dead. You won't likely get in trouble for trying to save a life, but you will get in trouble for not preserving life when it was in your power to do so.
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

  7. Amen Sparko, Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christianbookworm View Post
    Besides, if God wanted that person to be dead, they would be dead. You won't likely get in trouble for trying to save a life, but you will get in trouble for not preserving life when it was in your power to do so.
    ^That.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    If taken to an extreme, this would suggest that Christians should not see doctors because seeking medical care would be trying to extend life.
    I've always found that to be an un-biblical stance, hence the "extreme" nature which you apply to such a position.
    Life is, though granted by God and taken by Him, is to be honored and preserved.
    In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, for instance, the life of the Samaritan is, arguably, extended due to intervention.
    1 Timothy 5:23 states "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" which is arguably a call to care for the body in order to preserve quality of life and in order to potentially extend it.
    Even 1 Corinthians 10:23 which states that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial can be applied to healthcare.

    So, I suppose I'd like to ask next, have you heard of another making a case for drawing boundaries regarding when it is acceptable to preserve life and when it is permissible to allow death if we are to regard life as precious?

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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    If taken to an extreme, this would suggest that Christians should not see doctors because seeking medical care would be trying to extend life.
    What about Doctor Luke?
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  11. Amen lepidopter amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lepidopter View Post
    So, I suppose I'd like to ask next, have you heard of another making a case for drawing boundaries regarding when it is acceptable to preserve life and when it is permissible to allow death if we are to regard life as precious?
    I think there isn't a 'one size fits all' answer. So many variables. My youngest daughter has been a hospice nurse for over 7 years now, and has seen the entire range of "just don't let him die" to an older lady angry at her "how come I'm not dead yet!"

    Just last Sunday we had a lady in our Church who was very ill and weak, and asked for her family to stop by so she could say goodbye cause she 'had an appointment with Jesus'. She literally waited for her youngest son to arrive Monday morning, let him talk to her and hold her hand, then she breathed her last and passed away. She had been saying goodbye to everybody who came to visit.

    When I was there (at the hospital) to visit her, her doctor was coming out of her room, and he was visibly weeping. I stopped him and asked, "Doc, that bad?" He said, "no, she just told me that she hopes she'll see me in Glory, and thanked me for taking care of her - she told me to go 'tend to somebody else', cause she's ready to go".

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  13. Amen Jedidiah, lee_merrill amen'd this post.
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    I know I've said this before, but I think it's important. When it's a loved one who has trusted Jesus, and is ready to meet their Creator, I think it's important for us to let them know (at the appropriate time) that "it's OK to leave". I have seen people "hang on" because it seems they didn't think their family was ready for them to be gone.

    I remember one particular woman who was very close to her mother. This dear lady told me "Mom just seems to be hanging on". I asked her if maybe she thought Mom was waiting for her permission to leave. She looked stunned, at first, then recovered and said, "you think that might be it?" She went and sat by her mother's bed, and I stepped out into the hall. In just a few minutes, the lady came out and hugged me and said, "she's gone - and it was so peaceful".

    Years later, I was telling a similar story in a sermon, and afterwards, this lady came and asked me "was I the lady in your sermon illustration?" I told her there were at least a half dozen such incidents in my experience, and she just said, "I never would have thought my mom needed my permission to leave, but now it makes so much sense".

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  15. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I know I've said this before, but I think it's important. When it's a loved one who has trusted Jesus, and is ready to meet their Creator, I think it's important for us to let them know (at the appropriate time) that "it's OK to leave". I have seen people "hang on" because it seems they didn't think their family was ready for them to be gone.

    I remember one particular woman who was very close to her mother. This dear lady told me "Mom just seems to be hanging on". I asked her if maybe she thought Mom was waiting for her permission to leave. She looked stunned, at first, then recovered and said, "you think that might be it?" She went and sat by her mother's bed, and I stepped out into the hall. In just a few minutes, the lady came out and hugged me and said, "she's gone - and it was so peaceful".

    Years later, I was telling a similar story in a sermon, and afterwards, this lady came and asked me "was I the lady in your sermon illustration?" I told her there were at least a half dozen such incidents in my experience, and she just said, "I never would have thought my mom needed my permission to leave, but now it makes so much sense".
    I said this before: When my mom was dying of lung cancer, we all gathered around her bed and held her - she was unconscious but still struggling, you could tell, and I told her, "It's OK mom, we are all OK, you can go be with Dad now" and she just let go and was gone.

  17. Amen Cow Poke, One Bad Pig, lee_merrill amen'd this post.

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