Ethics Statements

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Patient Refusal of Therapy Position Statement

As Christians, we believe that human life is a gift from God and that all individuals are accountable before God for their lives. This accountability includes decisions to accept or refuse therapy.

As Christian physicians and dentists, we will assist patients, families and clergy in making decisions within the framework of patients' values and beliefs. A patient may refuse therapy that violates his or her moral values or religious beliefs. However, the right to refuse therapy is limited by the harm it may cause to innocent third parties.

For the Christian, to be absent from the body is to be with the Lord. Physical death need not be resisted at all costs. In certain circumstances, medical treatment only prolongs pain and suffering and postpones the moment of death. It may then be appropriate for a patient with decision-making capacity to refuse medical interventions.

The patient's decision should be made after thoughtful consideration of his or her responsibilities to God, family, and others. When the patient refuses life-prolonging therapy, we will respect that choice and compassionately support his or her medical, social and spiritual needs.

Approved by CMDA House of Delegates
Passed with 50 in favor, 5 opposed, 3 abstentions
April 29, 1994. Dallas, Texas.

Download file Patient Refusal of Therapy Position Statement with References