Meditation Categories Death

The Doctor’s Dilemma

Experiencing the death of a patient can be one of the most challenging aspects of being a doctor. This is particularly true when you are the person who has to decide whether to give up or continue emergency treatment. In the Tibetan tradition, letting a dying person pass away peacefully is as important as trying to save their life.

The Doctor’s Dilemma


As doctors, our task is to save lives but sometimes it’s becoming a dilemma. When should we stop saving someone’s life and help them to prepare for their death? Sometimes if you want to save a life, it’ll interfere with the peaceful way. If we want to help them to die peacefully, we have to do the other thing. But it’s very difficult to decide which way to proceed. Can you help us develop guidelines on how to deal with this dilemma?

Khenpo Sodargye:

In terms of the responsibility of doctors, it is necessary to take various measures to save lives. But from the perspective of practitioners, like in Tibet, many people would not choose to die in the hospital because normal rescue measures will destroy their practice.

Therefore, whether a patient needs the final treatment or not should depend on the patient himself and his family. If the family insists on saving the patient’s life, you doctors may have to satisfy their needs. And if there is really no hope, then you’d better let him die in a peaceful way. Sometimes the cases could be a little bit complicated and it’s better to consider both the patient’s situation and the family’s attitude.