Taking A Patient Off Life Support

Question: My father has been ill due to Covid-19 and has been in a medically induced coma for 7 weeks. He has been getting his oxygen from a ventilator all this time. The other organs are working and he is not brain dead. The doctors in the best hospital in the country (Netherlands) have concluded that his lungs are permanently damaged in such a way that he will never be able to breathe on his own without an ICU ventilator. They want to stop treatment which will result into death. Is this allowed?

Answer: 

Asalaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. May Allah Most High grant you relief in this difficult and testing situation.

Keep in mind that all such tests are expiations (kaffara) for believers’ sins, and reward and raising in eternal ranks in Paradise with Allah Most High.

Our prayers are with your father and family.

Taking A Patient Off Life Support

Life support equipment—such as a ventilator—is a sunna (highly recommended) to seek when someone is sick. It is not morally obligatory for a patient to seek such medical treatment—though when healing is likely or hoped for, it is recommended and encouraged.

Thus, when reliable doctors state that there is little or no likelihood of recovery, it is permitted for the immediate family to agree to take the patient off life support. It is good to seek a second qualified medical opinion, when feasible, out of caution and for peace of mind. Striving to preserve life is a basic aim of Islamic teachings.

It is also good for the family to come together and agree to the course of action being taken. They should also agree not to second-guess any choice made—whether to continue life support or not.

The family should support each other in this difficult time. They should all make many prayers for your father; give in charity on his behalf, and renew certitude in Allah, and have complete trust in His Mercy, Wisdom, and Grace.

Please see the following links as well.

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/dealing-with-a-terminal-illness-and-impending-death/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/extending-life-support-when-no-recovery-is-expected/

May Allah facilitate all ways of good for you. May Allah grant you success and facilitation.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

 

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani