Must Patients Always Be Given Food and Water?
Childress, James F.
Hastings Center Report. 1983 Oct; 13(5): 17-21.
The widespread consensus that withholding certain life-sustaining treatments, especially those entailing substantial suffering, is sometimes in a patient's best interest conflicts with our basic instincts when the treatments are food and water. Lynn and Childress examine the medical aspects of various nutritional options and the moral obligations pertinent to decision making. They conclude that, in certain limited cases, malnutrition and dehydration need not be corrected and that nutrition and hydration are not distinguishable morally from other life-sustaining treatments that may on occasion be withheld or withdrawn. (KIE abstract)