Decision Making at the End of Life: Ethical Approaches for Complex Health Situations

The Catholic health ministry begins with Jesus' healing parables and has been shaped through centuries of faithful discipleship continuing to see God's image and likeness in every person, especially the poor and vulnerable. In the last fifty years, health care's treatments and procedures have added an unprecedented level of complexity while adding medicine's ability to sustain biological life almost indefinitely. These changes also add tremendous complexity to our decisions at the end of life. In light of this complexity, how do we approach our own end of life decisions? How do we help and guide those in our communities in making their own, deeply personal, decisions? What guidance does the Church's moral tradition offer in the midst of these delicate and sensitive situations?



Michael Cox

Michael Cox serves as VP for Mission Integration for Dignity Health's Greater Sacramento Service Area with responsibility for organizational identity, spirituality and culture, clinical and organizational ethics, and community health. Mike earned a Masters in Health Care Mission from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO and is a PhD candidate at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.