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Author Topic: Orthodox views about Terri Schiavo?  (Read 1097 times) Average Rating: 0
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MBZ
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« on: March 22, 2005, 08:21:04 AM »

Hi all!

I am curious, what do Orthodox Christians think about the Terri Schiavo affair in the USA?

See http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/Should_Terri_Schiavo_Live _or_Die$.asp

and http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/The_Terri_Schiavo_Case_Related_Ethical_Dilemmas.asp

for an Orthodox Jewish view.

I'll quote one excerpt from the first article

Quote
Let us take the example of Terri Schiavo. She is not brain dead nor is she terminally ill. She is brain damaged and remains in what appears to be a persistent vegetative state. All of her bodily functions are essentially normal, but she lacks the ability to "meaningfully" interact with the outside world (although her parents claim that she does minimally respond to their presence and to outside stimuli).

Her impairment is cognitive and Judaism does not recognize any less of a right to treatment for one cognitively impaired than one mentally astute.

It is a denial of the Jewish ideal of the fundamental value of life that drives the forces that wish to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. While Judaism does recognize quality of life in certain circumstances (such as the incurable terminally ill patient in intractable pain mentioned above), the Torah does not sanction euthanasia in any situation. To remove the feeding tube from a patient whose only impairment is cognitive is simply murder.

We must ask ourselves when we view images of cognitively impaired patients such as Terri Schiavo whether the pain that we feel is Terri's or whether it is our own. While we may suffer watching movies of the severely brain damaged, it is our own thoughts of the horror of a life without cognition that drives us to project that pain onto the victim who may not be suffering at all.

and one from the second:

Quote
The general consensus in halachic literature [i.e. literature having to do with Jewish law] has been that certain treatments, such as oxygen, nutrition, and hydration are obligatory for all patients, regardless of the severity of their medical condition. This obligation is predicated upon the assumption that there are certain bodily needs that all people share, regardless of their prognosis, and that failing to provide for these needs constitutes a breach in the obligation to care for one's fellow man.

This line of reasoning considers breathing, eating, and drinking to be normal activities of daily living, and the providing of oxygen, nutrition, and hydration to be extensions of normal physiologic processes rather than medical interventions. [The late] Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach calls these treatments routine, and therefore not open to refusal or withdrawal, unlike certain other more "extraordinary" treatments that need not necessarily always be provided. He considers nutrition, hydration, and oxygen to be absolutely required, similar to antibiotics, insulin, and blood transfusions.

Be well!

MBZ
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"Peace, peace to him that is far off and to him that is near." [Isaiah 57:19]

"Gather your wits and hold on fast..." [The Who]

"Lose your dreams and you could lose your mind." [The Rolling Stones]

http://tinyurl.com/bvskq

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jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2005, 10:19:20 AM »

MBZ,

From all the Orthodox articles I've read on Terri Schiavo and from my own personal point of view, we feel the same about this as do your Jewish sources. If you're interested in seeing Orthodox views on the issue, try http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/.

They've posted loads of articles on this for a long time now. I don't really agree totally with their political conservatism (I guess I'm left of centre on economics and right of centre regarding morals) but there are a number of good and interesting articles on that site, including the odd one by Jewish Rabbis.

James
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MBZ
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2006, 08:00:01 AM »

Hi all!

I'm reviving this thread because of an article I just noticed by the same Orthodox Jewish doctor/medical ethicist who wrote the two articles I gave links to in my previous post.

Following is an excerpt from an article Dr. Eisenberg wrote this past March entitled Virtually Brain Dead (http://www.aish.com/societyWork/sciencenature/-Virtually_Brain_Dead-.asp) in which he, inter alia, discusses a recent, and shocking  Shocked, case from Boston. It is not short but it is very good (I think) and it expresses orthodox Jewish concerns very well, which I think my Orthodox Christian friends can share. I just saw it yesterday & decided to post it here for the benefit of my Orthodox Christian friends.

Quote
(...).

But it is a major leap to go from terminal illness to valueless life. To debate and discuss how aggressively to treat a patient with an incurable disease is healthy. To discuss ending the lives of people because we see no value in their continued existence is reprehensible.

(...).

Genocide does not start with overt murder; it starts with devaluing the lives of some unwanted or unpopular members of society and follows a downward spiral to depravity. Often, as in the case of Nazi Germany, the first group to be disposed of is the disabled, particularly the mentally handicapped. The arguments for euthanasia are always euphemistic and always couched in language suggesting that we are killing the individual for their own good. We never propose murder, we propose "mercy-killing" and allowing the patient to "rest." We wish to end the suffering of people who might not be experiencing any pain whatsoever.

(...).

Dr. Eisenberg also wrote this http://www.aish.com/societyWork/society/The_Death_of_Terri_Schiavo_An_Epilogue.asp last year.

This http://www.notdeadyet.org/ is a very interesting organization: Disabled (many severely) and ill (many profoundly, even terminally) people who strongly opose the "right-to-die" movement and are neither shy nor taciturn about it.

Be well!

MBZ
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"Peace, peace to him that is far off and to him that is near." [Isaiah 57:19]

"Gather your wits and hold on fast..." [The Who]

"Lose your dreams and you could lose your mind." [The Rolling Stones]

http://tinyurl.com/bvskq

[url=htt
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