If the Agudah Won’t Stand Up for Chaim, Who Will?
Ensuring End-of-Life Care According to Halachah
Things spiraled out of control so quickly, we didn’t know what hit us.
It was true that my father was well into his nineties, but when the doctor sent him to the hospital to check out his heart he was as upbeat and alert as ever.
He was the patriarch of our family, gracing the seat of honor at every family gathering. We were sure that he would be home within a few days.
We shouldn’t have been so complacent.
A series of complications led to my father slipping into a coma, from which the doctors didn’t expect he would ever wake up. A respirator seemed to be the only thing keeping him alive. Suddenly, we were besieged with medical jargon we had never heard of before. DNI, DNR… Which forms should we sign? What did it all mean?
The hospital staff seemed impatient with us. Our father was old; what did we hope to accomplish by keeping him alive in this state? Their resources and time would be better spent elsewhere.
We knew this attitude was antithetical to the Torah. Still, how were we supposed to handle this situation? We were at a complete and total loss.
With patience and vast medical knowledge, our questions were answered and our concerns were allayed. It hurt us to see our father so frail and vulnerable, but we knew he would be happy that his care was according to halachah.
And that gave us comfort.
In 2010, Agudath Israel of America established Chayim Aruchim to enable our community to make end-of-life health care decisions according to halachah. Chayim Aruchim upholds the constitutionally guaranteed religious rights of patients with its team of trained rabbis, doctors, legal experts, medical professionals, and high-level government policy advocates. A 24-hour hotline ensures that urgent questions can be answered at any time of day or night.
Chayim Aruchim helps to alleviate the pain experienced by families facing life and death situations, as they are reassured that their relative is cared for according to halachah.
The secular world doesn’t value every second of precious life as we do. Without Chayim Aruchim, the fight to uphold the rights of patients would be an uphill one. Because if the Agudah doesn’t stand up for them, who will?