Illness, Sick Call Sets, Anointing and You

I recently went to a family home to anoint a fellow who is seriously ailing. They participate regularly in the Extraordinary Form at the parish where I help out and so I took my old Roman Ritual (the rite is sublime).

Before my visit I asked if they had a sick call set and, sure enough, they did. It was a Crucifix form set, a wedding gift, which was on their wall for the last 50+ years, unused until yesterday.

But … they had one!

I made some comments about how to set things up for my visit and, arriving, found everything just right for the administration of the sacrament.

Note the pieces of bread and lemon which is used to clean the Oleum Infirmorum from Father’s thumb.

The cotton balls and bread and lemon should all be burned and the ashes put down the sacrarium or, alternatively buried.  The priest will take care of that.

The other day during my day trip with a priest friend to SW Wisconsin to see sites associated with Ven. Samuel Mazzuchelli.  In one display there was an old set.

Sick call sets can take many forms.  It is important that you have one, whichever it may be.

A sick call set will include, at minimum,

  • a white tablecloth
  • 2 blessed candles (matches)
  • a Crucifix
  • Holy Water
  • regular water
  • linen cloth and/or cotton balls

Set up a table with the cloth near the bed or place where the sick person is, especially so he can see it
Set up the crucifix and light the blessed candle on either side

  • You could have a piece of a blessed palm from Palm Sunday which the priest could use to sprinkle the Holy Water if the water is in a dish.
  • Have some regular water for when he cleans his fingers.
  • I recommend also a piece of bread and/or lemon and cotton balls.
  • Some include a small bell that the priest can ring after the sick person makes a confession to let people know they can reenter the room.

People get sick and die.

This is probably your fate if you are not killed suddenly.

Whatever may be the method God has in mind for you, death is not optional.

This important sequence of the human experience is provided for by Our Lord.  He gave His Church the ordinary means of our salvation.  We need the spiritual and, sometimes, physical strengthening that is conferred through the Sacrament of Anointing.  When given in the last moments of life, it is called “Extreme Unction”.  Unctio, in Latin, is anointing.  “Extreme” refers to “in extremis“, that is, the last moments of life or “at the limits of one’s powers”.

What are the effects of Anointing?

The effects of the Sacrament of Anointing or Anointing of the Sick or, sometimes, Extreme Unction, are:

  • To increase sanctifying grace in a moment of great need (danger of death)
  • To console the person
  • To strengthen against temptation
  • To heal the body
  • To forgive mortal sins when a person is incapable of confessing them or is unaware of his state of soul

Anointing was placed in the category of “sacraments of the living”, a handy way of saying that for them to be as effective as they can be, we must receive them while “alive”, that is, not “dead in sin”, that is, in the state of grace.  The key to understanding anointing and forgiveness of mortal sins is that the person must be incapable for one reason or another of confessing mortal sins.  However, upon recovery or a change of condition such that he is capable, he is bound to confess mortal sins in the normal way as soon as possible.  Danger of death always changes the playing field.

It is an abuse of the sacrament of anointing and unhelpful for people when the sacrament is given en masse without regard for the person’s condition of soul or, in many cases, body.

The law about who receives the sacrament is clear:

Can.  1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.

And there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1514 “The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of deathfrom sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”

Common points?  Danger of death… sick and old age.

Reflect on the prayer of the Church in the Litany, that we be saved from an unprovided death.

One can be in danger of death for many reasons.  For example, someone who is about to undergo surgery requiring a general anesthesia could be in danger of death.  People about to be executed or go into battle are in danger of death. Those are not occasions for the sacrament because they are external to the person.  Once damage is inflicted through a wound and danger of death is obvious, that’s another matter.

Soldiers and those to be executed ought to be given the opportunity to make their confession, receive Viaticum, hear the commendation of the soul, and so forth.

Some of you might be saying “But Father! But Father!  Vatican II did away with rules.  Pope Francis said so!  All sacraments should be given to everyone all the time.  You make me cry.  I need to be anointed now.  You hate Vatican II!”

Some argue that when a person reaches a certain age, he or she should be anointed because, at that age, you live in a perpetual state of danger of death.  That argument is weak.  If a person is baptized, he draws on the graces of that sacrament.  The sacrament of confirmation is intended also to strength us against temptation and live our Christian character well in moments of challenge.  The sacrament of penance also strengthens us against sinning and it also consoles us when we are not in danger of imminent death.  The Eucharist forgives venial sins and is our greatest consolation and strength in good times and bad, and at every stage of life.  Furthermore, as far as these en masse anointing services are concerned, there is often no provision for people to make a sacramental confession before they are anointed.  It is wrong, simply wrong, to anoint a person in the state of sin if there is no real danger of death looming on the horizon.  The sacrament cannot be effective for forgiveness of mortal sins if he or she is perfectly capable to make a confession.

The sacrament of anointing should truly evoke reverential awe because it associates us with the suffering Lord, the Crucified Savior, whose Passion gives meaning to all human suffering.

That’s not nothing.

Another point.

The fact that the sacrament of anointing, in some circumstances, forgives mortal sins, then the only valid and licit minister of the sacrament is a sacerdos, a priest or bishop.

DEACONS CANNOT ANOINT.  DEACONS CANNOT ANOINT.  DEACONS CANNOT GIVE THE SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK.

Neither can nuns in pantsuits with or without a lapel pin.

Neither can a parish volunteer.

Only a priest or bishop validly administers the sacrament of anointing.

This is a surprise to many.

Therefore, anything that resembles or simulates the actions of the sacrament of anointing should be stopped, so that people are not confused a) about what they are getting .. not getting, and b) what different roles in the Church are.

That said: The sacrament of anointing is not simply for extreme nearness of death.  It is for the sick or infirm.  But I think we must be wary of making it into something that it isn’t.  Having a cold doesn’t qualify, unless you have other ailments which mean that a cold could kill you.

Sacraments, all sacraments, should be simultaneously familiar and awesome.

They should be thoroughly incorporated into our lives and approached and received as often as appropriate, with something I can only describe as fearful familiarity, timid  boldness, reverential ease.

They should be both commonplace and also as if the rarest of events.  “Rare” means not only “infrequent” but also “precious, excellent, fine”.

We should be at the same time filled with longing for them when we need them and also filled with pious dread at the mystery of God’s ineffable favor poured out on us for no merit of our own, all because He has deigned to make us His adopted sons and daughters.

So… in short, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick can forgive mortal sins in certain circumstances.  It is, however, a sacrament to be received, unless impeded, in the state of grace, and only a priest can give it.

Use it.  Don’t abuse it.

Have a sick call set in your homes and know how to set it up.  God permit that you never need it, but…

 

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44 Responses to Illness, Sick Call Sets, Anointing and You

  1. Kathleen10 says:

    Thank you for the tutorial on the sick call set, Fr. Z. I will set about finding those items and having them around.
    Having lost two loved ones in the last four years, we draw great consolation from the fact that both of them had received the Sacrament of the Sick toward the end. It is tremendously consoling to realize they had what they needed, spiritually, to make their journey. The sacrament did them good, and also us, as survivors.

  2. majuscule says:

    I found a sick call altar in the closet at my in-laws. I don’t think they ever had it out where it could be seen. It can be hung on the wall or (what I hope to do) set into the wall between the studs.

    The candlesticks that go on the outside are missing. But inside, behind the pull down door were two linen cloths, a crucifix, paten, bottle with some oil still in it, a catechism from 1923 and a booklet about how to use the altar that is also full of prayers.

    A photo of it is here.

    The inside of the glass is spotted and so the whole thing needs to be taken apart to shine it up.

  3. jbettin says:

    This very day, my daughter and I attended daily Mass at a local parish. Evidently, on the first Fridays, it’s their policy to have an en masse annointing. It seemed loopy to me, and then — voila! — there was your post on the subject. I think I shall forward a link to the pastor.

  4. Sandy says:

    Upon emptying my mother’s house, I found a sick call set, not very old, so it may have been a gift when my brother was dying. It now hangs on the wall of our house near my collection of old and new statues. Thank the Lord I found it and it wasn’t lost in the shuffle. It’s in the form of a Crucifix similar to the one you picture, Father. God bless you, Father Z!

  5. The Astronomer says:

    Father,

    Is it appropriate or recommended to have a prayer card with the Apostolic Pardon for the priest’s use with the sick call set? They would seem to be a natural complement to each other.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’m glad you mentioned this, Father! I talked to my mom, and it turns out that there’s probably a sick call set over at Mom and Dad’s house. It’s her great aunt’s by way of her grandmother.

    I also found out that my mom asked for a crucifix, sick call set, and other Catholic stuff on her wedding present registry list, as well as all the standard US wedding present stuff. Back then, a lot of that religious and Catholic, Jewish, etc. stuff was actually sold at the department store with the wedding stuff, although you also would let the store know that stuff had been bought as you received presents. (Mom says there was more choice at the actual church supply store.) Mom didn’t get any of her special Catholic stuff, though, which kinda was annoying to her. (She bought a home crucifix herself.)

  7. KateD says:

    We were driving down the road and my daughter hollered, “Jesus! Stop!” I said, “Excuse me?!?” She said, “Jesus is in the grass over there!” I pulled over and she jumped out and sprinted into this vacant lot over grown with weeds. What she brought back was a fully intact sick call set like the one in the picture. It must’ve been in that lot for some time, because the wood had been bleached everywhere but where the corpus was, and the nails that held Jesus onto the cross had rusted, and so Jesus slid right off the cross. Some tired priest must’ve made a sick call and driven off with set on the trunk.

  8. Martlet says:

    This was brought home to me very starkly recently when I was admitted to hospital with cardiac problems. I naturally asked for a priest — and was refused one! My 90-year-old roommate was also refused one. Fortunately, by the Sunday morning, I was well enough to go downstairs to Mass, but my poor roommate had to make do with a nun visiting her in the room. Yes, this is Germany, where a lapsed Catholic nurse decides who needs a priest and who needs a nun. I was mortified.

  9. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    [Opps. Sorry Fr. Z. I misposted this comment among those on Dominicans and Cat-Demons; it becomes here.]

    In the Dominican Rite the thumb is first cleaned with salted bread and then washed with water. (Sacerdos detergat pollicem cum sale et pane et abluat digitos aqua in vase mundo.”

    Shameless sales promotion follows.

    Just today (interesting coincidence!), I put up at Dominican Liturgy Publications a new book with all the rituals needed for tending the sick and dying according to the traditional Dominican Rite. Yes, we have our own version of sacraments that would be performed within a monastery (so none for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, or Holy Orders).

    Here is a link to the “Cura Infirmorum” order page where the volume is fully explained:

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominican-liturgy-publications/care-of-the-sick-in-the-dominican-rite/hardcover/product-22306461.html

    So now Dominican Priests can have a sick call ritual in our Rite. The first republication since 1949.

  10. Dick Verbo says:

    There is a priest who collects vintage sick call sets who runs a website called SickCall.net.

    It it very interesting, and includes lots of historic pictures and stories about the sacrament.

  11. iamlucky13 says:

    If anybody needs to know what “the spirit of Vatican II” is with regards to Annointing of the Sick, we don’t have to try to “feel” what the spirit is telling us and then wonder why our answers all differ based on our differing feelings. After the Council had closed and was being implemented, Pope Paul VI himself took the time to tell us what the spirit of Vatican II meant for Anointing of the Sick:
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19721130_sacram-unctionem.html

    “This reality is in fact the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose anointing takes away sins, if any still remain to be taken away…arousing in him a great confidence in the divine mercy

    ‘Anointing of the Sick,’ is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the appropriate time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.

    This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having once received the Anointing, recovers and then again falls sick, or if, in the course of the same illness, the danger becomes more acute.”

    The first excerpt, with its condition of “if any still remain,” implies that our ordinary recourse for cleansing of sin remains Confession, even when we near death, but when we are in danger of death, God gives us even more than just that great sacrament.

    The other excerpts sound very familiar. They’re almost verbatim what is written in Canon Law and the Catechism. We see clear consistency in regards to this sacrament.

    While these documents do not take the step of explicitly prohibiting administering the sacrament to healthy persons, it is evident from the way they are worded that they don’t approach the topic from the standpoint of when anointing of the sick is prohibited, but rather from when it is permitted.

    Add in Father’s comments about Confession, including the practice of receiving Confession before Anointing of the Sick when possible, and the inappropriateness of receiving Anointing of the Sick when not actually in danger of death from illness or age makes sense.

  12. Matt R says:

    Thank you. We just arranged for my grandmother to be anointed and we want to acquire the sick call set for when my parents (or anyone else!) requires anointing…

  13. KateD says:

    Oh, Martlet, I’m so sorry. It’s no different, in the USA, though. I called the Catholic hospital that my grandmother was in and asked for a priest to visit her. They promised to send over Suzie Smith (not her real name). I clarified that my grandmother was in need of a priest, to which they responded, “Suzie is a minister”. I informed them that Grandma was Catholic, and they said, “That’s okay, Suzie doesn’t mind. We’re all God’s children.” I canceled the request through the hospital and started calling around to near by churches with no luck there either. Finally, I called a priest who I knew and asked if he would stop by to administer last rights for my grandmother. He arrived moments after her death, which apparently is still okay…..

  14. Mike says:

    Reading heartbreaking stories like Martlet’s and KateD’s above makes me just a little less unsympathetic toward the SSPX, and a great deal more appreciative of dioceses in which traditional liturgy, catechesis, and formation are permitted, even encouraged, to flourish.

    Thank you for the timely reminder, Father. Beati servi illi quos, cum venerit dominus, invenerit vigilantes.

  15. Gerard Plourde says:

    Thank you for a wonderful discourse on this vital sacrament.

  16. SanSan says:

    We have one that was handed down by holy parents on my husband’s side of the family. Thank you for the wonderful discourse on this vital sacrament. I wish I had this information to send to my family members to educate them prior to their deaths…..I tried other means, but it fell on death ears. May they Rest In Peace.

  17. glovehead says:

    What about the healing aspect, or the hope of healing? I should clarify. I have learned much from this article and comments. I take care of my terminally ill wife. I truly have hope that the Our Lord empowers our Bishops and priests to heal, as is evident in Holy Scripture. Am I wrong to think that this is the major point of this sacrament? I ask in good faith. I would want every priest I could get to annoint my wife. I am, most likely, showing my ignorance, but I believe in miracles. Why should I limit my wife to be anointed just once in this ordeal. She is now not able to speak or walk and is being cared for in our home. She is a blessing. We have an altar set up for the Sunday visits of the extraordinary minister. I pray for a miracle.

  18. gloriainexcelsis says:

    My sick call set is 62 years old, a wedding present, and has been on the wall of whatever house I have lived in all those years. It was usual for some family member to give such a set to newlyweds in “the olden days.”

  19. Gregorius says:

    Father, this is probably the single most informative piece of information on the subject I have read anywhere, thank you very much for this post.

    For those of you with more academic inclinations, here’s a nice article from the CRNJ discussing the rites in both forms more in depth: canonsregular (dot com)/files/latin-class/Evaluation_of_reform_of_sacrament_of_sick.pdf

  20. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    . . . someone who is about to undergo surgery requiring a general anesthesia could be in danger of death. People about to be executed or go into battle are in danger of death. Those are not occasions for the sacrament because they are external to the person. Once damage is inflicted through a wound and danger of death is obvious, that’s another matter.
    Soldiers and those to be executed ought to be given the opportunity to make their confession, receive Viaticum, hear the commendation of the soul, and so forth.

    Thank you, Father Z, for the much-need clarity regarding a much-abused sacrament. Yes, the danger of death must be intrinsic to the recipient, not extrinsic. For cases involving danger of death from external causes, one should request the sacraments of Penance and (if possible) the Eucharist.

    A few years ago, the liturgical journal Antiphon carried an article by Fr. Dylan Schrader disputing the view that one should be anointed before undergoing any surgery involving anesthesia, even if there is no danger of death internal to the person. As I was editor of Antiphon at that time, I have that article on my computer and would be glad to send the PDF to anyone who requests it. Just write me at tkocik@newliturgicalmovement.org.

  21. Gerard Plourde says:

    Regarding surgery under anesthesia – if my mother’s experience at the time of my birth by Cesearian Section in the early 1950’s is any indication, I believe that the practice was similar to that for soldiers and condemned prisoners – confession, Viaticum, etc., without anointing (i.e. Extreme Unction). To err on the side of caution, I think that should still be the practice. While rare, death during surgery still does occur and we should not fear administration of the Sacraments. As Fr. consistently reminds us – Go To Confession followed by its correlary, receive the Eucharist.

  22. steve51b31 says:

    Great summary ! Circulate this far and wide.

  23. Broggi66 says:

    Thank you so much for this Fr. Z. I have one of these that is 100 years old if not older. It was my great grandmother’s. I did not know how to use it as my mother neglected to inform me when she gave it to me. Now she feels guilty since I told her I learned it from you. However, Jesus has been broken off of the cross and I only have a plain cross. Do you know anyone who could put another Jesus on the cross?

  24. Bea says:

    Father, I love your comment on those eligible to administer the Last Sacraments:
    “Neither can nuns in pantsuits with or without a lapel pin.”
    I got a good guffaw out of that one.

    When is it considered “old age” to be eligible for The Anointing of the sick?

    I thought my husband had a sick call set. I guess we do not. We will definitely find an appropriate one to have on hand.
    Thanks for the heads-up.

  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Broggi66 – A Catholic church supply store should be able to order a “corpus” for your crucifix in a style that matches it. Usually they are nailed or screwed on, but sometimes glued. If there are holes left on the crucifix from the previous corpus, you should be able to tell how it worked before.

    A church store or your parish may also be able to recommend somebody to do the new corpus installation.

  26. Eric says:

    Under what circumstances should Viaticum be administered?

  27. Nicolas Bellord says:

    Thank you father for that very useful information.

  28. Nan says:

    Eric,

    It’s food for the journey so when you think your loved one is near the end it’s appropriate. When they sleep a lot, have generalized pain, are agitated a lot and aren’t interested in food I’d skip Viaticum and go for last rites.

  29. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Nan: Viaticum (one’s final Holy Communion) is part of the “last rites,” although I have seldom administered it because most of the times I’ve been called to anoint someone, the dying person was unable to receive Communion. (People tend to wait too long before calling the priest, and when they do they usually aren’t thinking about Viaticum.) But Communion is part of “last rites,” together with sacramental confession (if possible) and anointing with the oil of the sick. Viaticum is truly the last sacrament.

  30. WYMiriam says:

    And as we were reminded a while back on this blog by a commentor, don’t forget to pray for the priest who will administer the “last rites” for *you* and give you your “food for the journey” (Viaticum), that he will get to you in time!

  31. Imrahil says:

    Interesting, Fr Kocik.

    Which points to the question: It occurs, I think, with some frequently that people are ill to death, and more or less know it; but what they do not know is whether they are going to die on the same day, or the next, or even within as much as a week. Thus they call a priest in order to – as I’ve heard it reverently called among the old – “give their checkout notice” (doesn’t sound so great in English, the word I have in mind is rather military in nature, “abmelden”).

    Extreme Unction is obvious, but can he administer the Viaticum then?

  32. Nan says:

    Fr. Thomas Kocik, thanks for clarification. Uncertain why there was a distinction in my head between viaticum and anointing. Maybe because anointing is what we talk about?

    Imrahil, I think that’s what Fr. just told me, that viaticum would be part of the last rites. Whether the priest could give viaticum to a person would depend on the person’s situation at that moment; conscious, able to swallow, etc. I would expect that it’s fine to call the priest when it’s clear a priest is needed.

    Re: Abmelden, announcing one’s departure is prettier in English.

  33. Giuseppe says:

    The only thing about the food for the journey analogy is that, especially in the cases of those who have trouble swallowing, the tiniest speck of host suffices. We receive the entire body of the risen Christ in the administration of Communion. Just as we receive no more Christ when we receive body and blood than from body alone (let him who disagrees be anathema, per Trent), so too we receive no more Christ when we receive a big host vs. a small sliver of host.

  34. +JMJ+ says:

    I seem to remember one hanging on the wall of my grandparents’ house for as long as I can remember. I was curious and opened it one time and remember everything being in it, though I didn’t know what it was for at the time. My grandfather died nearly 15 years ago now. I wonder what happened to it – I don’t think my dad has it, and he would’ve been the logical one to take it. I hope it didn’t get tossed…

  35. Mariana2 says:

    That’s what you get for being a stupid convert in a Lutheran country – I thought Father would bring his own set if called. Where on earth will I be able to get one of these?

  36. JesusFreak84 says:

    I got a sick call set by myself a few years ago when a religious goods store was about to go under. The tiny holy water thing in it, as well as my normal bottle, have Theophany water; that stuff has major, MAJOR exorcism blessings @_@ Sad thing, though, is that, since I’ve had to move back in with my parents and sisters since I got it, no one with whom I live would even touch it if I DID need it…

  37. Mariana2: That’s what you get for being a stupid convert in a Lutheran country – I thought Father would bring his own set if called. Where on earth will I be able to get one of these?

    First, converting is smartest thing a person can can do, no matter where you are. In fact, it might be easier is a “Lutheran” country than in a place that was recently (formerly) Catholic.

    Also, Father can bring everything if you don’t have it. Of course!

    Finally, you will have to order something. That’s a lot easier now that we have the internet. Amazon UK has one HERE.

  38. The Masked Chicken says:

    “One can be in danger of death for many reasons. For example, someone who is about to undergo surgery requiring a general anesthesia could be in danger of death. People about to be executed or go into battle are in danger of death. Those are not occasions for the sacrament because they are external to the person. Once damage is inflicted through a wound and danger of death is obvious, that’s another matter.”

    Just to clarify: someone about to undergo surgery requiring general anesthesia may or not be an occasion for the sacrament. I can think of plenty of situations where it would be – ruptured appendix, perforated ulcer, some types of brain surgery, some types of open heart surgery – and I can think of plenty of situations where it would not be – cosmetic surgery, oral surgery, orthopedic surgery. It all comes down to the question of whether or not one would die if the surgery did not occur. If the answer is, yes, then anointing before surgery is the way to go.

    Every conscious person, however, should go to confession before any surgery. Things happen. I had a student who went in to get her teeth cleaned, got an infection that got into her blood stream, caused a heart attack, which caused a stroke, which put her into a coma. In addition, if one crashes during surgery, while that does becomes an occasion for anointing, unless the surgeon happens to be a Catholic priest, that is not going to happen.

    All pregnant women should, likewise, go to confession before their due date. Remember the classic episode of ER, where during a routine delivery everything went wrong and the mother died?

    That being said, I think this is the first I have heard of sick call kits. I will have to investigate.

    The Chicken

  39. Therese Z says:

    Make a nice wedding gift, wouldn’t it?

  40. Mariana2 says:

    Thanks, Father Zed, for your kindness in replying!

  41. Norah says:

    I cannot believe that there is something I know more about that the Masked Chicken!!

    When I became homebound I purchased a sick call set from EWTN – I couldn’t find any Catholic shop which sold one in Australia- because I knew that someone would be coming to my house to administer Holy Communion.

    The pastoral associate – a Mercy sister – arrived the first time and saw the sick call set. “oh that’s lovely” she said. What is it?

  42. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Norah,

    You wrote:

    “I cannot believe that there is something I know more about that the Masked Chicken!!”

    I can assure you that there are many things you know more about than I. I just have a big beak.

    The Chicken

  43. Oneros says:

    I heard a rather convincing argument from a priest that the danger from surgery (the anesthesia etc.) can sometimes be valid justification for the sacrament if it can be seen as accruing to the physical malady itself.

    That is to say, it wouldn’t be if the surgery was purely cosmetic. But most surgeries treat an underlying real malady. And his argument was that it’s artificial to try to separate the danger of the malady “in itself” from the danger involved in its treatment.

    If it is something that demands treatment, then the danger of the treatment IS a logical “playing out” of the causal chain of the malady itself, it is a danger caused by [the situation of] the malady, and hence (so the argument went) it accrues to the malady itself.

    I could see counter-arguments, of course. What if it was just a sore tooth, and the treatment itself was not dangerous, BUT you lived in some remote mountain and the journey to the treatment would be dangerous? I’m not sure how this line of analysis would make a distinction there.

    But it was an interesting position at least.

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