The Dignity of Life extends to those who are in the process of dying. Death is a part of our reality, whether it be from the result of old age, from disease, or from injury. As a human person begins this process, he or she needs to be treated with that dignity. First among this dignity is to allow the process to happen on its own accord. We do not believe in Euthanasia, the deliberate taking of a life.
We also believe that all appropriate physical, emotional and spiritual care is to be provided. Below are listed some of the norms of the Catholic church on this care.
Hydration & Nutrition
“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.
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.”
Proportionate Treatment Any medical action that has a reasonable chance of to cure the patient or assist with the cure, that does not present a significant risk of death nor does it present an excessive burden. These treatments are mandatory, and cannot be morally withdrawn.
Disproportionate Treatment Any medical action that is not mandatory and is excessive in its burden (pain, emotional, spiritual and financial), and fails to offer a reasonable chance to cure. These treatments can be withdrawn and be morally correct. This allows for a person to be removed from an artificial life support system, if there is virtually no hope of recovery.
Palliative Care This is the alleviation of pain and other symptoms, including mental, emotional and spiritual support.
An advanced directive is a legal document by which a person makes provisions for health care decisions in event that they become unable to make such decisions themselves. Two common forms fo advanced medical directives are a "living will" and a "durable power of attorney."
"Living Wills" are not a helpful document. It tends to be open to various interpretations and cannot take into account the actual situations the patient is in.
"Durable Power of Attorney" is a much more helpful document. It legally designates a person to make health care decisions in the event one becomes incapacitated.
Individuals who wish to execute a "Durable Power of Attorney" for health care are not required to have the assistance or advice of an attorney.
These materials are not to be considered legal advice and they are not to be considered a substitute for the assistance or advice of an attorney.
Because we cannot decide if the PMDD is best for your individual situation, you must use your own judgment and to the extent you believe appropriate, seek the assistance of an attorney.