Directive 58 of the ERD
Paul Lauritzen November 19, 2009 - 9:58am
At their meeting this week, the bishops approved a revision to Directive 58 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care services. The Catholic Health Association has summarized the change here. The core of the change is summarized by the CHAUSA as follows:The new Directive 58 makes three points:
Traditionally, the standard for optional life-sustaining treatment was that if the treatment offered no reasonable hope of benefit and the treatment was excessively burdensome, it could be stopped. Directive 58 now interprets no reasonable hope of benefit as no reasonable hope of prolonging life. Someone in a persistent vegetative state may live 30 years irreversibly comatose and without the capacity to interact with others. I am not saying that such a life has no value, but it is hard to see how prolonging life through a surgically implanted feeding tube benefits anyone.