People are diagnosed with terminal illnesses on a regular basis. Many times a person refuses to undergo treatment because they don't wish to experience the pain and exhaustion that would entail.
While it may buy them more time, the tradeoff isn't necessarily worth it for all patients who may want to live a shorter time but with less pain and exhaustion from more extreme treatments.
My question is what Halacha has to say on the issue.
My assumption is this would likely break down into different categories of considerations.
- The emotional well-being of the patient would need to be considered as further treatment could compromise them emotionally and amplify their suffering beyond the physical.
- Suicide being an act of ending a life vs a person accepting a diagnosis for an act of God/nature. In such a case they aren't seeking death but accepting they are reaching their natural end. There may be gray there but the distinction likely matters. This being different from say euthanasia or suicide in the traditional sense.
- Whether the person has been chronically sick prior. If the individual has been treated for this or other things prior and they continually get sick or experience new and more extreme issues, the nature of past medical experience may relate to whether a future treatment is even worth attempting.
- The overall outcome statistics. If the person has a 90% success rate in treatment vs a person who is say 5% or less. We obviously wouldn't treat these two situations the same way when considering options.
I was curious as to what has been discussed around this sensitive issue?