As homeopaths our highest goal is to cure in a gentle way without causing harm. Many times we see miracles of healing. To expect to save a life is a very real expectation for homeopaths. Yet we do not get to choose the length of a persons life or whether they heal or not. Even the best of homeopathy may not always save a life. How then do we treat a person when death is approaching?
There are really only two ways that death comes to visit us; suddenly by trauma or slower as a result of dis-ease. When we are involved in a trauma that is life threatening always give remedies based on the trauma. If it is not the persons time to leave their life then all attempts to save their life will be utilized by the vital force. Since we do not get to choose it is always best to continue to treat until death does occur. The remedy that may help the best will be for the trauma.
The other way that death can be approaching is when disease has finally brought the person to their end days. This is a different state than trauma and should be handled differently as well. The main focus should be on palliation of symptoms to bring comfort. If there is pain involved in the dying process morphine is the drug most widely prescribed. But morphine is a drug that removes consciousness and does not necessarily allow the person to consciously transition out of the body. Morphine is the “goddess of sleep” and is equal to death without consciousness.
There are other ways to help palliate pain with homeopathy. Remedies that have the ability to create the pains of death also have the ability to alleviate this pain as well. Remedies to consider are Tarantula Hispanica, Tarantula Cubensis, Androctonus, Phosphorus, Antimonium Tartaricum, Lachesis, Carbo Vegetablis, Heroinum and Arsenicum Album. When death seems imminent the remedy should be given in higher potencies (1M to CM). Look for ways the person is suffering that may lead to the remedy. Is there restlessness, loss of consciousness, delusions or dream like states or are the pains cutting, burning, writhing? By taking the case with these types of thoughts in mind you will be able to find a remedy that will best help and allow the transition out of the body with greater ease and comfort.
I have given Arsenicum Album when there was great restlessness, burning pains and a “holding on to life”. The constriction aspect of Arsenicum and avarice were the main indications for the remedy. One client rallied greatly and continued to improve. Another client calmed down alot, had the time to be with loved ones and transitioned in a very peaceful way. So we do not get to choose if the remedy will bring healing or a peaceful death. Death is a fact of life and although unpleasant for most people is something, as a homeopath, we must be familiar with.