From Dark Night to Gentle Surrender: On the Ethics and Spirituality of Hospice Care

From Dark Night to Gentle Surrender: On the Ethics and Spirituality of Hospice Care

by Patricia Kobielus Thompson


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From Dark Night to Gentle Surrender: On the Ethics and Spirituality of Hospice Care by Patricia Kobielus Thompson

Drawing from her many years of experience as a hospice nurse and her training as a theologian, Patricia Kobielus Thompson offers in The Dark Night of the Soul instruction to those providing care for terminally ill patients. Thompson finds in the poetry and other writings of Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross a wisdom that she argues will assist caregivers in comforting their patients through the trying times just before death. Though much has been written on Saint John of the Cross, Thompson’s application of these works is wholly new and rooted in deep empathy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589661943
Publisher: University of Scranton Press
Publication date: 01/15/2010
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Patricia Kobielus Thompson spent many years teaching healthcare ethics and moral theology. She is now retired and lives in Meridian, Idaho.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Hospice Care 3

Origins of Today's Modern Hospice Concept 3

Cicely Saunders and the First Modern Hospice 8

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 10

The Avoidance of Death 12

The Present Re-Awakening 13

Newer Developments 14

Goals of Hospice Care 15

Principles of Hospice Care 22

The Hospice Code of Ethics 29

Summary 43

Chapter 2 Ethical Considerations and Their Development 47

Direction and Focus of These Considerations 47

Convergence of Thought and Development of Focus 48

Aristotle: The Nichomachean Ethics 48

Thomas Aquinas: The Medieval Synthesis 52

Summary of Ancient and Medieval Emphases 56

The Hippocratic Writings: Medicine's Early Documents 57

Philosophical Considerations 59

Immanuel Kant: Deontological or Obligation-Based Theory 60

Utilitarianism and Consequentialism in Retrospect 62

W. D. Ross: Theory of Prima Facie Duties 64

Positive and Negative Rights 66

Mid-Twentiem-Century Growth in Biomedical Ethics 67

The Principles Grounding Modern Bioethical Considerations 69

Autonomy 69

Nonmaleficence 71

Beneficence 72

Justice 73

Covenant Responsibility 75

Virtue Ethics: A Return to the Beginning 79

Summary 84

Chapter 3 The Dark Night of the Soul 87

Mysticism 87

John of the Cross: Sixteenth-Century Spanish Mystic 91

Sixteenth-Century Spain: Literature and Milieu 93

The Spanish Inquisition 93

The Spanish Mystics: John's Place 95

Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul 96

Dark Night: The Poem and the Purpose of John's Commentaries 97

The Structure of Ascent and Dark Night: Major Emphases 102

The Active Night of Sense 106

The Active Night of Spirit 108

The Passive Night of Sense 111

The Passive Night of Spirit 114

Natural Human Passions-Acceptable or To Be Negated? 116

Does John Negate Our Natural Intellect? 119

Virtue as an Expression of the Contemplative Soul 123

Modern Authors 125

Women, Spirituality, and Health Care 128

Summary 133

Chapter 4 Practitioners and the Dark Night 135

Medicine and the Law-Influence over Health Care Practitioners' Decision-Making 135

Personal Practice: Practitioners and the Dark Night 137

One Man's Personal Experience-Spirituality and the Health Care System 141

Delving into Essentials: From Nursing to Priesthood-One Man's Journey 146

Practitioners: Discernment, Honesty, and Virtue-Centered Practice 150

Women's Issues: A Personal Note 150

Hospice, Humility, and a Virtuous Professional Life 151

The Process of Discernment 155

Personal Background and Point of View: Our Responsibility 158

Summary 164

Chapter 5 Patients and the Dark Night 167

Acceptance, Letting Go, and Resolution of "Unfinished Business" 168

Theologian and Patient: Meeting of the Mind and Heart 170

Attachment in Our Modern Society 176

Practitioners' Approach to Patients and Families in Light of the Dark Night 180

Additional Thoughts and Synthesis for Practitioners 186

Summary 188

Chapter 6 Summary and Conclusions: 191

Contemporary Spirituality for Terminal Illness 191

General Overview 191

The Documents of Vatican Council II 194

The Consistent Ethic of Life 197

Further Reflections on The Consistent Ethic of Life 200

The Pope Speaks 207

Conclusion 210

Notes 213

References Consulted 233

Index 251

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