Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Conquering Death

My patient died yesterday. He was already under the hospice and palliative care because his cancer was stage 4 in its terminal phase. However, his family was not ready to give up. They trusted God will do a miracle. The patient was having a hard time to accept his illness. His kids are too young to lose a father. He was hopeful he could still go back to work to be able to provide a good future for his family. He was praying that God would hear him. Death was their enemy and they were fighting it with everything they have.

Palliative medicine teaches me that whenever cure is almost an impossibility, care should always be the goal. A respectable and peaceful death is a great help to the family and to the patient.
However, Christian perspective teaches us that death is an enemy we have conquered and we will conquer. Is palliative medicine looking death as an enemy? What does it mean when it treats death as a natural process of life? That death should not be a violent death or a painful death? Would palliative medicines' perspective then be compatible with Christian teaching? Or are we looking at death with two different meanings?
I will have to visit my patient's family over the weekend at the wake. I may have to do bereavement care in the coming weeks. Then, I will know if they faced death and if they think our patient was able to conquer death...

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