Forum to Address Issues Surrounding Death

By Pohl, Laura Zahn | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 31, 1998 | Go to article overview

Forum to Address Issues Surrounding Death


Pohl, Laura Zahn, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Laura Zahn Pohl Daily Herald Correspondent

For the family of a dying patient, the issues and decisions can be heart-wrenching. They face a journey with no road map, no hard and fast rules.

"Each end-of-life situation is so unique and individual, and we're dealing with many different factors," said the Rev. John Hildner, full-time chaplain at the DuPage County Convalescent Center in Wheaton.

Hildner will present a framework of issues and arguments that underlie assisted death and other end-of-life dilemmas Sunday at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 515 S. Evergreen, Wheaton.

He will discuss the Christian perspective and ethics of assisted suicide during an informational adult forum at 9:45 a.m. on the church's lower level.

Hildner said one of the hardest issues to cope with is pain. The medical field has not fully explored the options for pain management.

"How can we better ease suffering?" he said. "We've done very little to understand and alleviate a person's pain."

Chris MacDowell, a nurse and St. Paul member, will discuss the physiological aspects of dying, physical discomforts and the body's natural shut-down process.

Making decisions about treatment is difficult without clear direction, Hildner said.

"We can withhold treatment if a person is deemed terminally ill," he said. "I can say I personally don't want treatment, but what happens for those who can't speak for themselves? …

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