We believe that God is sovereign and is able to intervene in human affairs using natural or supernatural means. We also believe we are stewards of our bodies, our health and our resources, and therefore we are responsible to God for our lifestyle and healthcare choices.
Advance directives are discussions or written statements which convey a person's
wishes to his or her family and physician in the event that he or she becomes unable to discuss such matters. They may (1) explain the individual's values about health, life and death; (2) give directions to family and physician about treatment goals or the use or non-use of specific treatment modalities; or (3) designate a surrogate to make decisions on behalf of the individual.
As Christian physicians and dentists, we believe that advance directives can be an
important part of good stewardship. We should consider prayerfully having such
discussions and completing written advance directives ourselves. We should encourage our patients to do the same.
Prior to completing an advance directive, the Christian should consider prayerfully God's will for his or her life. Family, clergy and other Christian advisors may be of assistance to the believer who is uncertain about the application of biblical principles and Christian tradition to his or her particular situation. The believer should formulate his or her advance directive to assure that it clearly and accurately reflects his or her values and wishes.
After completing an advance directive, the individual should discuss its content and
meaning with his or her family, surrogate, and physician. Individuals should review their advance directives periodically to assure that they accurately reflect their current values and wishes.
Clinicians should examine carefully the verbal and written wishes expressed by their patients. They should be willing to follow these wishes provided they do not conflict with the clinician's personal moral or religious values. If such a conflict exists, the clinician should discuss it with the patient and transfer care if the conflict cannot be resolved.
Approved by House of Delegates
Passed with more than a two-thirds majority
April 29, 1994. Dallas, Texas.