Food as Love: Ethical and Moral Dilemmas in Withdrawal of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in the Minimally Conscious State

Kelley Finch Newcomer, Robert L. Fine, Antoinette Fidelia Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Supportive Palliative Care and Hospice professionals frequently attend to Minimally Conscious State (MCS) patients near the end of life and in so doing, face decisions over maintenance or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration. Although both withholding and withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) in such circumstances are considered by experts in ethics and law to be acceptable, not all families nor health care professionals agree. This paper will explore basic aspects of serious brain injuries, especially MCS, the psychological role of food in interpersonal relationships, and lessons from clinical ethics that can help in goals of care discussions about withdrawal of ANH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • artificial nutrition and hydration
  • brain injury
  • chronic vegetative state
  • disorders of consciousness
  • minimally conscious state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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