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Do Not Rescusitate QUESTION from Caroline Honn January 17, 2000
I've been reading with great interest the posts concerning euthanasia. As a former respiratory therapist, I spent several years working on a ventilator unit. There, they practiced what was called terminal weaning. Basically when a patient was decided to be without hope, the doctors and patient's family met and signed papers to carry this out. It amounted to giving a dose of a respiratory depressant and sedative, while removing the ventilator. The drug would be increased until the patient died. I had to quit the profession altogether because I refused to be the one to perform this order. I still have nightmares about it. I understand and agree with all you've said...and I wish I could have been as eloquent at the time. My question is what about the DNR orders so many patients have? Are we required to resuscitate patients as Catholics? How are we to do our jobs and remain Catholics if this is true? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on January 17, 2000
Dear Caroline, God bless you for your courageous stand. It amazes me what some people classify as medical treatment. Medical ethics have never required that caregivers strive relentlessly to maintain the last vestiges of physical life. A medical practitioner is under no duty to continue to treat a patient when no benefit would be conferred by continuance. This again is all the difference between killing one's patient, and letting one's patient die. God bless you. John Miskell Back to Index Page

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