Feeding the Permanently Unconscious and Terminally Ill or Dying is Not Always Compassion

William Mitchell Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1989

William Mitchell Legal Studies Research

3 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2010

Date Written: Spring 1989

Abstract

A surrogate decision maker may conclude that efforts to mechanically provide liquid nourishment would cause considerable suffering in return for little gain. But such a decision is unquestionably one that can produce great conflict for families and for medical caregivers. Assessment must be made of each patient's situation and of the benefits and burdens that will result if tube feeding is withheld or withdrawn. It may well be, however, that in some cases, the most humane and compassionate treatment for a patient is the withdrawal of all technological interventions, including those that supply nourishment.

Keywords: biomedical ethics, healthcare, euthanasia, living wills, substituted judgment, Karen Ann Quinlan

Suggested Citation

Haugen, Phebe S., Feeding the Permanently Unconscious and Terminally Ill or Dying is Not Always Compassion (Spring 1989). William Mitchell Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1989, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1578329

Phebe S. Haugen (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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