Issues Involved with Resuscitation of People Who Have Passed
Worldwide the stories of what happens after a person comes back from the brink of death have fascinated people since time began. It appears there is so much more that we just don’t see. We see images in paintings, and some that are centuries old, all over the world of people and animals’ passing through what appears to be a tunnel hurling helplessly toward a bright light. Some paintings depicting death are angelic and beautiful and some range all the way to the macabre and bizarre. One thing that remains a constant in this depiction of “going toward the light” seems to be the stories that the people of recent times who have returned from the light bring back with them. Most, not all but most, refer to that light being all love, from which no one wants to return. The light is described as indescribable and as being of the most unconditional love that one could ever imagine.
Therein lays the problem. How can we know what happens after death occurs? Do we have the right to resuscitate people with the miracle we call modern medicine? Not to say that everyone who is resuscitated was medically intervened by any means, but this is the problem that I pose here today. Do we die or are we brought back from the brink? Who gets to decide? What happened to these newly reborn people? Are they different when they come back from the brink of death?
We have to find the answer to these questions. Some of these questions are addressed in the writings and studies done by Dr. Raymond A. Moody Jr. In his book Life After Life. Dr. Moody has documented many anonymously shared accounts of people who have been on the other side and what it felt like to be brought back from the other side, back into what we call life. Some people who are resuscitated feel powerful feelings of anger and resentment at being brought back as anonymous says in Dr. Moody’s account in Life After Life”(1)” After I came back, I cried off and on for about a week because I had to live in this world after seeing that one. I didn’t want to come back.” (Moody 61). This is a really powerful statement about how this person perceived what life as we know it is like on the other side.
Do we have the right to decide for someone else whether or not it is their time? Or is it possible that our intervention dictates that it just wasn’t a person’s time? The problem then is who gets to decide? When an individual is in a random accident and there is no way to know if there is a living will or any other form of direction for this particular circumstance, what do we do? Sometimes culture and religion answer those questions for us. Other times there is no clear answer, turning these questions into ethical problems.
Different cultures have differing views on this subject. Spirituality and belief in God are two factors that figure into the equation based on cultural beliefs and practices. For example, the ancient...