FHC #125: Beyond medicine—a Rabbi’s insights on end-of-life issues

This ninth season of Fixing Healthcare continues its focus on complex end-of-life issues. In this episode, hosts Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr venture outside the traditional walls of medicine for help understanding the spiritual and communal aspects of end-of-life decision making. Joining today’s show is Rabbi Melanie Aron. As a Jewish scholar and expert in Reform Judaism with a rich history of spiritual leadership and personal compassion, she brings a unique perspective to this important topic.

Serving Congregation Shir Hadash of Los Gatos for over three decades, and now as Rabbi Emerita, her involvement with diverse, interfaith organizations reflects her commitment to community and open dialogue. Rabbi Aron’s experiences offer invaluable insights into how different traditions and communities navigate end-of-life decisions.

This episode explores:

  • Religious traditions and their influence over the medical decisions of people who are nearing the end of their lives.
  • The difference between legal restrictions on end-of-life medical care and the moral/ethical considerations that still confront people of faith.
  • What religion can teach clinicians about providing more compassionate medical care at the end of life.
  • Situations where religions institutions and medical institutions agree and disagree on end-of-life treatments.
  • Brain death, Alzheimer’s, hospice care, assisted dying—seen through the lens of religious texts and teachings.
  • Whether mental and physical health be treated similarly when making moral and ethical decisions around a person’s death.
  • Advice for families struggling with the reality that a loved one has a terminal disease.

Tune in for the full interview and join the conversation on social media.

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Dr. Robert Pearl is the author of a book about medicine’s invisible yet highly influential physician culture. Check out “Uncaring: How Physician Culture Is Killing Doctors & Patients.” All profits from the book go to Doctors Without Borders.

Fixing Healthcare is a co-production of Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr. Subscribe to the show via Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you find podcasts. Join the conversation or suggest a guest by following the show on Twitter and LinkedIn.