Hindu End of Life: Death, Dying, Suffering, and Karma

Susan Thrane, MSN, RN, OCN


Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 2010;12(6):337-342. 

In This Article

Case Study 2

Mr A. is a 73-year-old Hindu man with end-stage pancreatic cancer. He is cachectic, bed-bound, and unable to eat. Mr A. rates his pain as 10 of 10 and is refusing pain medication saying, "I want to be awake and need to conquer my pain through meditation."

Case Discussion

It would be appropriate to gently question Mr A. and his family regarding his beliefs surrounding both pain medication and his spiritual values. It may be that Mr A.'s spiritual beliefs lead him to suffer pain for the sake of karma, or he may be unaware that pain medication can be given that will not make him unconscious. He may also feel spiritual distress because he cannot overcome his pain with meditation and needs some counseling from his spiritual advisor.[16] If Mr A. feels he must suffer for his karma, his decision must be accepted.


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