Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Theology of Grey's: Doctor and Uncle

Chief of Hospital, Dr. Richard, was torn between being an uncle and a doctor. He had a niece, Camille, who had a metastatic ovarian cancer that presents with an esophageal tumor blocking her airway. She can either undergo experimental chemotherapy and have it surgically removed then live a longer but suffer a complicated, painful and difficult life or choose to forego the treatment plan and live a stress-free, painless life for several weeks before she dies. Her family members are begging her to choose experimental chemotherapy and rare surgical operations because their "world is better with her (Camille) around." But Camille wants to go because she is "so so tired," and just want to live a short but happy life then let the natural consequence of life take its course. Adele, Dr. Richard's wife, begs him to convince their neice to choose treatment. And so, Dr. Richard tells Camille... "as your Uncle, I am begging you to take it (the medical option)... even if there's just a slim hope of survival... take that choice... but as your doctor, I will do whatever your decision will be..." She wanted to go home, Dr. Richard sent her home.

Here is the theology of Christian ethics that most people do not understand. In a life and death situation, we want life. But what is life? Is it just breathing 20 cycles per minute and having a heart pump 60 beats per minute? Even though the person is bed-ridden, socially non-functional and kept physiologically viable by a life support? Is that still life? Here is what Christianity teaches us. God became human in Jesus Christ to give life and have it abundantly. Not just to have life... but have it abundantly. When Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see, the lame walk and the dead come back to life... Jesus gave them life again, a life they can live abundantly. When Jesus died on the cross... Jesus gave us life by defeating the power of sin that prevents us to live an abundant life with God. That's life, an abundant life! That's the kind of life that doctors are ethically called to offer in their healing ministry.

Yes, doctors are God's instrument to give us an abundant life. Adele, Dr. Richard's wife, did not understand that "calling" for doctors. She did not know what it means to be a doctor, a doctor that God uses to give life. Adele said to Dr. Richard, "I thought you were a doctor, I thought being a doctor was about saving lives...I'm disappointed with you." What Adele did not realize is that as a doctor, Dr. Richard gave her niece a chance to live an abundant life.

1 comment:

chikadee said...

it's difficult to decide for someone else's life. a doctor's calling might be to save a person from death, heal the afflicted, assist the injured but then in the end, it is the person's will to live that is the guiding element in one's survival.