ETHICAL PROBLEMS: Feeding frenzy

November 2005 
Volume 35  Number 11
Pages 22 - 23
  PDF Version Available!

In the long-term-care facility where I work, a 92-year-old resident I care for has stopped eating. He occasionally sips liquid, but refuses to eat, saying things like, “I just don't want it. I'm not hungry at all.” He has many chronic health problems but no known terminal illness. He denies having pain and appears comfortable. He's made health care advance directives and states clearly that he doesn't want to receive artificial nutrition and hydration if he's dying. His physician and a psychiatrist who provided a second opinion both say he's competent and not clinically depressed, and I agree.

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