Withholding nutrition at the end of life: Clinical and ethical issues
Jacquelyn Slomka, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Address: Jacquelyn Slomka, PhD, RN, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, RAS E-607, 1200 Hermann Pressler, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABSTRACTTube feeding in terminally ill patients has become routine. Indeed, many physicians question the ethics and legality of withdrawal of nutrition and hydration—even in patients whose prospects of recovery are bleak. To avoid unnecessary pain and suffering, patients, physicians, and family members need to discuss the patient's desires, carefully weigh the benefits and burdens of tube feeding, and examine their own beliefs and biases.