Loreto on the Plains Personal Care Home

"Where Prayer Makes the Difference
                                       Giving Hope Where there is No Hope"      

End of Life Issues
Important Articles concerning Brain Death
http://www.registerednurse.org/resources/the-euthanasia-debate  You will have an accurate and thorough database of the facts surrounding by a Registered Nurse. 

ANOTHER RESOURCE: www.euthanasia.com

On August 14, 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine issued a statement that "BRAIN DEATH IS NOT DEATH - Organ Donors are Alive".     The question remains "Will the Catholic Church now issue a form position against vital organ donation?"   go to LifeSiteNews.com for more information.

On August 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II stressed, "vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death, that is from the body of someone who is certainly dead."  He added:  "This requirement is self-evident, since to act otherwise would mean intentionally to cause the death of the donor in disposing of his organs."  see the full address here:

On September 3, 2008,  "... the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has carried a front- page article noting that a declaration of "brain Death"cannot be considered the end of life in light of new scientific research.  
go to LifeSiteNews.com for more information.
The Article is entitled Vatican Newspaper: Brain Death and thus Organ Donation Must be Reconsidered

The Euthanasia Society of America defines euthanasia as "the termination of human life by painless means for the purpose of ending severe physical suffering." Webster's New World Dictionary defines euthanasia as "an early and painless death; act or method of causing death painlessly, so as to end suffering; advocated by some as a way to deal with victims of incurable diseases." The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting and end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus, an act or omission which, of itself or by intention causes death in order to eliminate suffering, constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator."
Euthanasia is the intent to kill the patient. It is false "mercy" in that people bypass the need to help their brothers and sisters by sharing their pain and suffering, showing compassion for their fellow man. Killing the person who is suffering because we cannot bear it is somehow a perverted form of mercy. In today's world there seems to be a "conspiracy against life."
A truer understanding of what human freedom means is needed -- people do not have a right to take their own lives but to understand the meaning of the sanctity of life and what it entails. We have the right to the "use' of human life, not dominion over it.
For more information see: www.euthanasia.com and www.friends-4-life.org/euthanasia.htm. The Friends-4-Life site has a wonderful Catholic approach to this issue.

"...we must be wary of those who are too willing to end the lives of the elderly and the ill. If we ever decide that a poor quality of life justifies ending that life, we have taken a step down a slippery slope that places all of us in danger. There is a difference between allowing nature to take its course and actively assisting death. (C. Everett Koop, M.D.)

Physician Assisted Suicide
- When a physician supplies the patient with the means to kill him or herself.  This is also called Assisted Suicide when another non-medical person aids the person in killing themselves.  The rational is to help to stop the horrible pain that the person is in but the way we are doing it is by eliminating the individual. The natural trajectory of the assisted suicide movement leads to such ever widening expansions of killable categories: from the terminally ill, to the disabled and chronically ill, to the "tired of life" elderly, and eventually to the mentally ill. This needs to be a red flag for our society. It is being raised. Where will we allow it to all stop. That is our decision.

Living Will  - The Patient Self-determination Act of 1990 aka ("national living will law"). This act forces hospitals, nursing homes and hospices to give information about advance directives--i.e.living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care (DPAHCs)--to patients upon admission.
This document is promoted as a way to help patients have more control over their medical treatment.
It pressures patients to relinquish health care and tips the scale in the direction of death for costly to care for patients. It works against the poor, who at a time of acute illness or an emergency to sign the living will under pressure without understanding. The elderly may be influenced by a sense of altruism -(it's better for me to get out of the way) or (I don't want to be a burden) or be depression.

An alternative to this is the PSPD (Patient Self-Protection Document) which is not a living will. It names a family member or friend as an agent to make decisions. It defines and prohibits euthanasia. It specifies nutrition and hydration are to be provided unless one is unable to assimilate food and fluids. It specifies that the signer is to be provided with ordinary nursing care and medical care. It does not confer immunity on any physician etc. who will not honor these instructions.
For more information  see CRTI Center for the Rights of the Terminally Ill Inc. P. O. Box 54246, Hurst, TX 76054. Ph. 817-656-5143.
See also: www.internationaltaskforce.org for information on their PMDD (Protective Medical Decisions Document) which is an advanced directive that is patient friendly.

Death With Dignity - This almost sounds like a holy statement - one that you would agree to. Actually it stems from individualism which is based on the philosophy of secular humanism - which believes that there is no God, so we can determine our own destiny. If there is no God then there is no use in suffering and if one has a poor quality of life why keep on living. As society today presents it "Death with Dignity" is based on a persons right or those responsible for him to decide things for himself. Like how I will die, when I will die and under what circumstances I will die. Perhaps others will help me to escape my suffering and to die - with dignity. This stems from false compassion and false mercy. It is sympathy for our sufferings; but, it is not the kind of compassion which would encourage others to walk with us through and during long term sufferings. No, this compassion would move others to help us quickly end it all in a dignified way so that they would not have to watch us suffer. With so many suffering with Alzheimer's and other forms of long term debilitating  disease and from mental illness - from the very young to the very old there are many frightening possibilities which they would offer us.
True death with dignity  is found amongst God's people in a loving family community until natural death.

'In opposition to such trends of thought I feel the duty to reaffirm strongly that the intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being do not change, no matter what the concrete circumstances of his or her life. A man, even if seriously ill or disabled in the exercise of his highest function, is and always will be a man, and he will never become a "vegetable" or an "animal"...the loving gaze of God the Father continues to fall on them, acknowledging them as His sons and daughters, especially in need of help.' (Papal address on Food and Water - March 20, 2004)

Nutrition and Hydration - Food and Water - The most common method of euthanasia in the United States today is withholding food and fluids. In other words the patient is intentionally starved to death. This is routinely classified as "passive euthanasia". One of the primary issues which theologians and the medical profession in this country has been wrestling with is the term medically assisted Nutrition and Hydration. In many of the living wills which are signed by most entering the hospitals or nursing homes there is a provision about terminating all medical treatment. Most people do not realize that means ending food and water if it is through a feeding tube. 

The USCCB (United States Catholic Conference of Bishops) has addressed this issue in a document titled, "Questions about Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration". If a person is eminently dying and his body is shutting down he may not be able to assimilate the food and fluids and therefore food and water would be withheld. All patients deserve to receive normal care out of respect for their inherent dignity as persons. In the second question the document states, "But the teaching of the Church has not resolved the question whether medically assisted nutrition and hydration should always be seen as a form of normal care." Catholic theologians have traditionally viewed medical treatment as excessively burdensome if it is "too painful, too damaging to the patients bodily self and functioning, too psychologically repugnant to the patient, too restrictive of the patients liberty and preferred activities, too suppressive of the patient's mental life or too expensive."

Pope John Paul II addressed a congress of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations on March 20, 2004. He spoke on "Food and Water" and on the clinical condition called the "vegetative state".  Please refer to the Pope's statement at the end of the paragraph "Death with Dignity". He makes a clear statement on the inherent dignity of man. Further on he said,"The sick person in the vegetative state, awaiting recovery or a natural end, still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.), and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed. He also has the right to appropriate rehabilitative care and to be monitored for clinical signs of eventual recovery.
I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering."

After the Holy Father made this statement many Catholic Theologians and others on the Medical Profession questioned whether he was making a statement from the chair of Peter or just giving his personal opinion.

On August 1, 2007 a response was issued from William Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Pope Benedict XVI Responses
to Certain Questions of the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration

First Question: Is the administration of food and water (whether by natural or artificial means) to a patient in a "vegetative state" morally obligatory except when they cannot be assimilated by the patient's body or cannot be administered to a patient without causing significant physical discomfort?

Response: Yes. The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its  proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented.

Second question: When Nutrition and hydration are being supplied by artificial means to a patient in a "permanent vegetative state", may they be discontinued when competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness?

Response: No. A patient in a "permanent vegetative state" is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation fort the Doctrine of Faith, Approved these Responses, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation and ordered their publication.

Fr. Frank Pavone's Reflections as he stood by Terri Schaivo dying body as she was being killed by starvation and dehydration. . 
(This is not a peaceful or compassionate scene but a true picture of what happens to a person who is being dehydrated and starved to death.)
"Then I saw the most tragic irony of all.  There was a little night table in the room.  I could put my hand on the table and on Terri's head, all within arm's reach.  And what was on that table?  A vase of flowers filled with water.   And I looked at the flowers.  They were beautiful.  There were roses there and other types of flowers and there was another vase on the other side of the room at the foot of the bed.  Two beautiful bouquets of flowers filled with water -- fully nourished, living, beautiful.  And I said to myself, this is absurd.   This is absurd.  These flowers are being treated better than this woman.  She has not had one drop of water for almost two weeks.  Why are those flowers there?  What type of  hypocrisy is this?  The flowers are watered.  Terri wasn't.  The irony is that had I dipped my hand in that water and put it on her tongue, the officer would have led me out probably under arrest.  He would have certainly led me out of the room.   Something is wrong here."

This pamphlet is a powerful descriptive account on Terri's suffering and death, guarded by police officers that made sure no food or water entered her mouth.   It explains the media and Michael's attack on Fr. Pavone because he described the scene exactly the way he saw it.  This angered to euthanasia advocates because they wanted to appear merciful and compassionate.

The tragic thing about all of this is that, as a society, we are acting much like the people in the children's story "The Emperors New Clothes".  No one wanted to appear "stupid" and participated in the greatest form of "stupidity",  going along with the crowd In this case it was claiming that the emperor was dressed in the finest clothes when indeed he was naked.  

Today the same thing is happening with the issues at the beginning and the end of life.  In fact, we are living in a word of illusion about many issues.  The point is that we must open our eyes and let the words of truth enlighten our mind and heart.

To search for the truth one must go to the sources that present this truth - traceable and valid.  

"Turning the Tide - Dignity, Compassion, Euthanasia" is an excellent DVD that can be used for discussion groups, talks, workshops and personal use.  They can be purchased online at www.saltandlighttv.org.   By contacting the Terri's Fight website at  www.terrisfight.org
you will also find many more websites filled with the answers to your questions. 

Terri's family wrote a book entitled "A Life Worth Living".  "Our book is five individuals' stories and the story of a single family who lost the battle to save Terri's life.  In this book, we hope in some small measure to bring her alive again...."  This can be purchased from the website or from www.twbookmark.com

This is the face of suffering and victory in loss as this family has entered to fight for the lives of others that are vulnerable to this method of euthanasia.

Euthanasia will never be called such as long as we refuse to see these practices for what they are.  Remember that the only goal of removing food and water is to cause death.

Signs of Dehydration
Eyes become sunken                                        Severe drying of mucous membranes
Lips become parched and dry                           Severe thirst
Tongue swells and might crack                         Mouth would become dry and caked with
Skin becomes loose , dry and scaly                    a thick material
Burning of the bladder due to highly                 Cheeks become hollow
concentrated urine                                           Lining of nose becomes dry, cracked
Very elevated fever                                           and may bleed
Dropping blood pressure                                  Respiratory tract becomes dried out,
                                                                        and thick secretions would result in
                                                                        plugged lungs and cause death  

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