44. A person in a coma : what can be done? life support or euthanasia?

Who can know what is going on in the mystery of the heart of a person who is suffering? Who dares to say that this person should no longer live? For Christians, perhaps there is, at this instant, an ultimate moment of meeting, of forgiveness, of offering or of love.

All people, believers or non-believers, must have a respect for life and for the mystery of a human being. What remains of human rights if someone finds reasons (good reasons) to cut off the life of a person at one point or another because they have decided it has no more value?

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Euthanasia, the act by which the death of a sick person is deliberately and directly provoked (for example, by the injection of lethal doses of various products often combined in a «cocktail») is a voluntary homicide and a crime. The medical doctor, whose mission is to relieve the suffering of his patient, as much as possible, and who has made an oath to serve life, may not, under any circumstances, even under pressure (from the patient himself or others), end the life of a sick person.

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On the other hand, should extensive therapy be used to prolong a life at any cost regardless of the age of the patient or the chances of improvement or recovery? To decide what is best for a person in that state we need to look into our heart and find a true sense of compassion. Sometimes we need to change a course of action that would have satisfied us personally, from a scientific point of view, in order to do, instead, something else for the patient’s comfort. This demands great competence as well as humility. This is a description of palliative care.[1]

It is never easy to come in contact with the mystery of death. To come to terms with our own fear, don’t we need to seek a way of instilling hope?


1. The hospice movement

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