Emergency room doctor Boris Veysman had an essay today on NPR arguing against the ease with which some families give up on an elderly relative. He relates a story of a woman who could have lived for some time after he performed CPR.
” ‘I think there’s a good chance she is fixable in the short term,’ he told the family. I think her depression, weakness, appetite, dehydration and malnourishment can be effectively treated. She needs dialysis. Whatever her prognosis is from the cancer, I think she can probably get at least a few good weeks.” But in the end:
They decide on comfort care only. No dialysis.
I see the burnout in their eyes. Their will to fight quit weeks ago, after the patient’s minor symptoms from the chemo and cancer were left unaddressed, leaving the impression that her life wasn’t worth living.
She died peacefully several hours later. The best resuscitation of my career turned into my most memorable professional disappointment.
As Hezekiah prayed not to die, we should also seek to serve the Lord over many years. The doctor says, “Life is precious and irreplaceable. . . Don’t give up on me if I can still think, communicate and enjoy life.”
The danger is that we would not eventually be willing to die should the Lord not answer our prayers and that we then turn to our doctors to save us instead.
Doctor Veysman’s full essay, “Shock Me, Tube Me, Line Me,” is published in the journal Health Affairs.