LISTEN: Gradual Dying and End-of-Life Care, Part 5 (Preparing for the Inevitable #10 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:53-55: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

The featured quote for this episode is from Thomas Campbell. He said, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Our topic for today is titled “Gradual Dying and End-of-Life Care (Part 5)” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.

— Aggressive End-of-Life Care

While gradual dying gives us the advantage of advanced warning about the death, it is easy to squander the potential for end-of-life end-of-life preparation. Aggressive medical care may always be our first option, but by pursuing powerful medicine until there is “nothing left to do” we likely forgo time with loved ones, final pursuits or perhaps a spiritual deepening in anticipation of life with God. There is a trade-off when choosing aggressive care, and we must learn to balance the proper desire for healing with the eventual need to die.

In response to end-of-life dramas like the 2005 case of Terri Schiavo and the acceptance among some doctors of physician-assisted suicide, the National Right to Life Committee offers a living will for anyone to use. The “Will to Live” is a legal document, like other living wills, that outlines what kind of medical treatment to use should the patient be unable to speak for him- or herself. The Will to Live asks doctors to do anything and everything to keep a patient alive. “Today, many doctors accept a ‘quality of life’ ethic,” NRLC says in its explanation for why a Will to Live is necessary. “If they believe someone will have disabilities that make that person’s life have too poor a quality, they will do everything they can to deny life-saving treatment and even food and water so the person will die.”

At best, this statement is inaccurate. Far from doctors denying life-saving treatment, as the NRLC claims, studies show that doctors and hospital staff regularly give patients more medical care than they want, treatment beyond their wishes. It would appear that patients and their physicians have difficulty acknowledging the inevitable. If only for liability reasons, doctors err on the side of overtreatment. One study that sought to reduce conflict between families and doctors found that the most common source of disagreement between doctors and patients was over the withdrawal of life support. A Duke University study of patients in the intensive care unit found that “three-quarters of those cases involved medical staff who wanted to continue treatment aggressively when the family did not.”

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.