Extremis: A Netflix documentary on end of life issues

extremisThis week, a short documentary premiered on Netflix. In less than half an hour, Extremis follows several different patients and their families facing end of life decisions, as well as the doctors caring for them. These people were very brave in allowing the film crew to capture such intimate and heart wrenching moments. Everybody dies. We all know that on an intellectual level, but for most of us it doesn’t become real until we are faced with the undeniable fact that we or someone we love is dying. And with the medical technology available in 21st century hospitals, death can often be postponed. The documentary raises many questions, but perhaps the most crucial one is, What counts as life for you? Continue reading “Extremis: A Netflix documentary on end of life issues”

ABCs of Hospital Chaplaincy: A is for Advance Directive

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How do you want to die? Have you ever thought about it? It’s a line of thinking most of us would probably like to avoid, but as a hospital chaplain, my job involves a lot of thinking and talking about death. And in the hospital where I work, chaplains also have conversations with people who are not near death about what they want to happen when they get to that point. Upon check-in, every patient is asked whether they would like information about Advance Directives. If he/she says yes, a chaplain will go visit him/her within the next forty-eight hours, carrying a blank South Carolina healthcare power of attorney form. Where I work, it is one of the basics of what a chaplain does.  Continue reading “ABCs of Hospital Chaplaincy: A is for Advance Directive”