Dying a Good Death: End-of-Life Decision-Making for Terminally Ill Christians
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With the ever-growing number of medical technologies and treatments that exist that are able to postpone the time of death and extend dying, the ethics of end-of-life care for terminally ill patients has become a popular area of research in the medical field. While much of this research focuses on factors such as patient education and patient autonomy, there are benefits to taking a theological approach in the study of medical death and dying, as many patients place an importance on spirituality during their last days. This thesis examines end-of-life decision-making for terminally ill patients, and specifically determines how these decisions should be made from a Christian theological perspective. In order to accomplish this, this paper pulls together thoughts and information from various sources on medical ethics, death and dying, and spirituality and theology. From examination of these sources, it was determined that there is not one end- of-life decision that is definitively “right”; but there is a way in which to make these decisions that can contribute to a good death. Terminally-ill Christians should work towards being within God’s will when making these decisions, and decision-making should involve an attitude of humility, prayer, and seeking of godly counsel.