Is stopping dialysis considered suicide?

Is stopping dialysis considered suicide? This is a difficult question. You need to pray and ask God to give you guidance on this. There is not explicit guidance in Scripture on this.
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Caller:  My parents and I have had very elderly friends in their late, late 70’s, early 80’s and with no hope of recovery, who were on dialysis machines.  And they were very, very worn out, very tired of their illnesses, and they decided to just stop dialysis.  Would this be considered a suicide?

Pastor Doug:  Well it could be.  You know, that’s one of those fine lines.  When you think about it, Samson is accused of being a suicide but you have to keep in mind, they were going to execute Samson at the end of their festivities that day, and he just beat them to it and tried to take down the house as he was doing it on his enemies.

You know, my father and others we know have had in their will that if – they were refusing life support in advance.

Caller:  Right.

Pastor Doug:  They didn’t want the heroic efforts to be made to put them on breathing machines and things to just keep the body functioning.

Caller:  Yes.

Pastor Doug:  If a person is – obviously if I stop eating long enough, I’ll die – so there’s something I need to do to keep alive.  And if it happens to be medicine to stay alive, then take it.

Now there is a line when you know, some people can take chemo and add a couple of weeks of very poor health and misery to their life, where without chemo they can maybe die a little more peacefully.  That’s one of those things you just have to pray that God will give you the grace to make those decisions.

So that’s what I’m saying, there’s a fine line.  If a person is starting to make heroic efforts to just kind of squeeze one more day out, but it’s really one more day of misery, and they’re ready to just lay down their sword and go to sleep, then I’m not going to fault them for that.  This is something they’ll have to have peace with God about.

Caller:  Ok.

Amazing Facts’ Resource Number:  800-835-6747

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