What would be your understanding of Sarah’s initial decision to aggressively treat cancer with surgery and chemotherapy?
Judaism Discussion Board Narrative
Selecting a “typical” Jewish client is difficult. An ultra-Orthodox Jew has a particular set of special needs. Yet, it is more common to see a Jew who is a middle-of-the-road Conservative. Sarah is an 80-year-old woman who is a first-generation American. She was raised in a traditional Conservative home. Her husband died after 50 years of a strong marriage. She has three children. Although her home is not kosher, she practices a variation of kosher-style eating, avoiding pork, and not making dishes that combine meat and milk.
Two months ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Surgery was attempted, but the cancer was already in an advanced stage. Chemotherapy was started, but cancer has progressed and is not responding to the medications. She is having difficulty eating because of the pressure of the tumor on the gastrointestinal tract. Discussions are being held to determine whether or not treatments should be stopped and whether hospice care should be initiated. Her hospital room is always filled with visitors.
Questions for Reflection:
(1). What would be your understanding of Sarah’s initial decision to aggressively treat cancer with surgery and chemotherapy?
(2). What must you anticipate in discussing with Sarah her wishes regarding the continuation of medical care? Is hospice care appropriate for this patient?
(3). What questions do you need to ask in the initial patient interview to assess her degree of religious practice? How will you determine her spirituality needs)?
(4). What is your understanding of the reason she has so many visitors in her room?
(5). Sarah dies with her family at her bedside. What interventions can you take at the time of death to demonstrate religious sensitivity to the family? What questions do you need to ask the family? Describe Jewish burial rituals and the grieving process.