1 Is death ever good?
Man was created by God, in the image of God, male and female. (Gn.1:28) Death became part of the creation because of human sin. (cf. Gn.3:14-19, Rom.5:12) Death therefore is inevitable; (cf. Heb.9:27) we can do nothing to stop it, but death is also an enemy. (cf. 1 Cor.15:26, NASB) Do you embrace your enemies?
I am currently in my 21st year as a Registered Nurse. I have spent almost my entire career working in an intensive care unit. I’m certified as a Critical Care RN (CCRN). I have probably witnessed over 1000 deaths during my career and I assure you that there are no good deaths. Some are more horrific than others, but none are good. “Approximately 20% of deaths in the United States occur in ICU or following an ICU admission.”2
Death is an enemy of mankind. Nursing has two goals: 1) Save life. 2) Relieve human suffering. All too often these come into conflict and an ethical dilemma ensues. Most nurses in a critical care setting stay at the bedside 2-5 years, then they find something else to do. Suffering is the reason that nurses do not stay at the bedside. “Nurses working in an ICU, a NICU, on an Oncology unit, or in and ED come to work each day, aware that they will certainly witness suffering and that they are very likely to also see death.”3
What I wrote in my previous blog “Christian Ethical Decision Making” applies perfectly to the conflict of saving life and relieving human suffering. That last step is to make a decision that honors God; this must be put at the top of the hierarchal ladder of any decision-making process. If life can be saved but doing so causes human suffering; then the human must suffer, because all human life is sacred. If, however, it is determined that human life cannot be saved, relieving human suffering should be the goal.
1 John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for A Brave New World, 2nd ed. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 175.
2 Betty R. Ferrell and Nessa Coyle, The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 62.
3 Ibid, 88.
Popular posts from this blog
Suffering: The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.Death: The end of the life of a person.Intensive Care Unit: A department of a hospital in which patients who are dangerously ill are kept under constant observation. I cannot continue doing what I have done for the past 21 years. My last day in the intensive care unit will be January 4, 2019. I will be transitioning to Cardiac Rehabilitation. This will be a completely different type of nursing. Cardiac Rehabilitation combines my love of aerobic exercise, knowledge of cardiology and love of people suffering with heart disease. I will be able to invest in their lives in a way that I was never able to do before. These past 5 days are an example of what my work has been like for the past 21 years: I worked 4, 12 ½ hour shifts. I took care of 10 persons, all of whom suffered but some greater than others. A woman 10 years younger than I suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack); a woman suffered greatly in the i…
Please, Please, Please open your mouth and preach the gospel! Recently I was asked to do two things: 1) Think back to my own experience of how I was evangelized and describe the experience. 2) If I could go back and give advice to the person or people who ministered to me what would it be? I began running as a young child. At the age of 5, I ran my first mile with my dad. At the age of 10, I wanted a pair of running shoes like the big runner’s wear. My dad challenged me, if I could run 5 consecutive miles at less than 8 minutes per mile he would by me a pair of running shoes. I met the challenge and he bought me the shoes. While at the runner’s store there was a flyer for an upcoming 10k race. My dad signed us both up for the race. The next year my dad was too busy with work to run with me, but we had new neighbors across the street. I noticed that this man would come home every evening and go for a run. I began running with him, at the time he was pursuing a doctorate at D. T. S., …
The defining mission of the church is to make disciples of all the nations, initiate the new disciples into fellowship through the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Triune God and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded the first disciples; doing so by the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Matthew 28:18-20 has been called the great commission because Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) commissioned his disciples to do just that. There is an utterance of this great commission at the end of each gospel account and the beginning of Acts. (cf. Mk 16:15, Lk 24:46-48, Jn 20:21, and Acts 1:8) Why? Because evangelism and discipleship are the church’s purpose for existing. For this reason, evangelism and discipleship cannot be separated. They are wholly dependent on one another. Jesus did not commission his disciples at the beginning of his ministry, but at the conclusion, and before his ascension. However, He did send them out on practice evang…