17 February, 2010

The question of ANH (Artificial Nutrition and Hydration

Here is the position of the Catholic Church on when it is acceptable to remove extraordinary means of care for people in a permanently vegetative state, at least as it applies to nutrition and hydration:

The church’s view is that giving food and water to a person through a feeding tube is not a medical intervention but basic care.

This is always a difficult area in which to balance the moral, religious, pastoral and practical issues of someone that we love in life. I pray that this clear guideline might make the decision easier for families to make in difficult times.

Click here if you want to read the original document


  1. I have been in this situation many times. By the time the tube is pulled, the individual is at the end of a long progressive period of deterioration. This always involves a terminal illness. There is never any opposition from loved ones or family members. The individual affected is no longer able to make a decision but has made a decision regarding this step previously.

    People have focused a lot of attention on the Terri Schiavo case. This is a very unusual case, with very unusual circumstances. Her husband and family were all assholes, with no real compassion for her or her situation. There was money involved in the decision, which is always obstructive.

  2. Does this rule even apply to liberals? Do we really have to save them?
    What if we put the tube in the other orifice. They'd never know the difference.


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