Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Religious People Seek More Treatment


The New York Times reported on a new study that shows religious folks want more end of life, aggressive treatment when they have a terminal illness (cancer) than non church goers. We know that 80% of health care costs are spent in the last 6 weeks of life and that so many aggressive treatments are done when a person should be comfortably exiting this life. Aggressive end of life care can lead to a more painful and emotionally draining experience for family members too.

Hmmm. Let me think about this. Religious people believe in heaven (and hell) and say they trust in "God's will", but they opt for mechanical ventilators and don't prepare living wills, according the the study that will be published in JAMA. What is it about religion that would make a person want to "hang around" in an ICU on a ventilator, in this old, sick body, when heaven and the angels are beckoning? Shouldn't belief in an afterlife bring more peace and comfort about leaving the mortal body behind?

Apparently this study was done with Christian denominations so we don't know if Jews, Hindus, Muslims or Hari Krishnas also want heroic (mostly wasteful) end of life care.

Just reporting it, folks.

10 comments:

KM said...

Thanks for reminding us about making our own end of life decisions and filling out the forms for it.

jobb said...

I have not filled out any forms, but my loved ones know what I want. No artificial means of prolonging life, DNR (do not resuscitate) and no big ceremony.

Raymond Bouchayer said...

Very well said......."may the good Lord take a liking to me , but not too soon " :)

I think that Religious or not FEAR is what makes people wanting to hang around at all cost .

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tracy said...

Wow, that is kind of strange. Like Raymond, maybe it is the FEAR that some religions put in to people...my childhood one sure did me.

Raymond i also loved your quote!

ERP said...

Yeah, and when a Witness comes in bleeding to death they want everything done except what has the best chance of saving them - a blood transfusion!

grindcm said...

Well, the term Christian has taken on a broader meaning in our society. Statistically close to 90% of Americans claim they are Christian, but upon further examination only 4% of those actually hold to the moral standards and values of the Bible. Now then, we must look at this study with a more keen eye. Maybe those proclaiming Christianity are uncertain of where they stand and know that they need more time to prepare themselves. Also, fear is a logical concern in almost everyone's lives. Fear of the unknown, I belief, is the concern for those entering end of life care. Plus, religion means following a set of beliefs and Chrisitanity is about relationship.

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