Artificial nutrition at the end of life: Ethical issues

BEST PRACTICE & RESEARCH CLINICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY | Online – 12 March 2014 – Artificial nutrition is a medical treatment that first of all needs a sound scientific base before prescribing it. This base is absent for dying patients and patients in the end stage of dementia. Because feeding is a very emotional and symbolical issue, patient and family may request this treatment despite the lack of evidence. These issues should be addressed in good communication with patient and relatives. For comatose patients and patients in a persistent vegetative state artificial nutrition is a necessary support to bridge the time until either recovery is imminent or improbable. At that moment artificial nutrition no longer contributes to the life of the patient and should be ceased. Artificial nutrition has no place in patients that voluntary decide to stop eating and drinking in order to die…read more

An article from Media Watch, compiled and annotated by Barry R. Ashpole (Ontario, Canada). More reports can be found at IPCRC.NET