Artificial Feeding--Solid Ground, Not a Slippery Slope
New England Journal of Medicine. 1988 Feb 4; 318(5): 286-290.
The authors discuss state court decisions and statutes that address the refusal of artificial feeding by competent patients and the withholding of artificial feeding from incompetent patients. These decisions, the AMA's statement on discontinuation of life-prolonging treatment, and similar views by many physicians and ethicists suggest to Steinbrook and Lo an emerging medical, ethical, and legal consensus. Their view is that artificial feeding should be considered a medical intervention rather than routine care; that refusal should be a right of all competent patients; and that withdrawal should be permitted for incompetent patients based on previously expressed wishes. The authors urge physicians to seek advance directives on artificial feeding from patients, discuss the issue with staff, and make alternate arrangements if their views conflict with those of their patients. (KIE abstract)
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Competence; Conscience; Consensus; Consent; Decision Making; Ethicists; Extraordinary Treatment; Government; Hospitals; Institutional Policies; Legal Aspects; Legal Rights; Life; Organizational Policies; Organizations; Patient Participation; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Physicians; Professional Organizations; Right to Die; Rights; State Government; Statutes; Terminally Ill; Third Party Consent; Treatment Refusal;
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