Buddhist beliefs and end-of-life care

An ugly dispute involving a brain-dead patient’s religious beliefs and Boston’s BI-Deaconness leads to court:

Last week, doctors declared Cheng, a grandfather of seven who suffered cardiac arrest the day after Thanksgiving, brain-dead and said it was time to remove him from the ventilators and intravenous medicines keeping his organs functioning.

But the family refused to let doctors take Cheng off the life-support system because his heart was still beating. They said their belief as Buddhists was that Cheng’s beating heart meant his spirit and consciousness was not ready to move on. Taking him off life support, they said, would be the same as killing him.

The Chengs hired a lawyer and obtained a restraining order against the hospital; Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center Friday took Cho Cheng’s wife, Joyce, and his son, Henry, to court to get an order allowing doctors to remove life-support systems.

(via Running a hospital)