Q&A on Medical Directives

Senior couple browsing the internet together

QUESTION: I’m working on my medical directive, and my attorney asked me some questions about my end-of-life wishes. He said that, legally, I have total authority over my health care decisions. He used the term “patient autonomy.” How does that fit with my Christian belief that God is the final authority in life and death decisions?

ANSWER: Your attorney is correct in stating that you have the legal right to make your own medical decisions. You are also right in stating that God is the ultimate authority over life and death. The challenge for you is to apply your faith when making medical decisions. Your right to make medical decisions does not remove God’s ultimate authority over your life. Your role is to make decisions that are consistent with the directives of God’s Word. In other words, use your legal right to make life-sustaining decisions until there is evidence that God is bringing your life to a close. When it is clear that death is imminent, then accept God’s will and receive comfort care until death.

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