Resources to Critical Care: A
Perspective from the Jewish
|1.||Any intervention possessed of a reasonable likelihood of prolonging life must be implemented.|
|2.||Interventions to prolong and preserve must be effective, or at least not harmful.|
|3.||There is no requirement to implement futile therapy.|
|4.||Quality-of-life issues do not play a prima facie role in the decision process.1|
These four principles, which emanate from a strict interpretation of the canonical tradition in Jewish law, embody the most traditional views of the faith. They would be acknowledged as dispositive by Orthodox Jewish scholars. Adherents of the other branches of Judaism— Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist—might take issue with the fourth principle, but probably not with the first three.
The canonical tradition relies upon biblical sources, upon Talmudic texts dating from the second to the sixth centuries C.E., upon commentaries and codifications of Jewish law that were compiled in medieval times, upon rabbinical responsa dating from Talmudic times to the present, and upon other, more interpretive writings. The canonical tradition is