JEWISH CASE STUDY #1
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 the 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.
1. What would be your understanding of Sarah's initial decision to aggressively treat the cancer with surgery and chemotherapy? Include your understanding of the meaning of life and source of strength for Jewish persons.
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. Sarah's daughter, Esther, visits her mother, and comes into the hallway with red eyes, and has obviously been crying. Describe family roles and organization, as well as attitudes toward parents and older family members.
4. What is your understanding of the reason Sarah has so many visitors in her room?
5. The rabbi from Sarh's synagogue comes to hospital and visits with the family. What is a rabbi, and what is a synagogue? What is the Torah? Is the synagogue the same thing as a church? What is the focus of life for Jews?-- i.e. is it to go to heaven?
6. Sarah dies with her family at her bedside. Describe Jewish burial rituals and grieving process.
1). Sarah initially wanted to fight cancer as she believed that there is a possible treatment to treat cancer and prolong the lifetime. During the initial stages of grief, one tries to find the solution and avoid the consequence of there is a possibility. So, Sarah actually wanted to take the treatment and prolong her lifetime.
In Jewish families, women are the center of the family and they believe that there is only one God who created this Universe and the works continuously and affects what people do. Sarah might have thought that God will help if she initiate the action to treat her cancer.
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