EWTN Catholic Q&A
end of life issue
Question from Christopher on 03-05-2018:

Can water and nourishment be denied for end of life patients? Visited a 91 year old uncle in the hospital under hospice care. I've seen this play out before with another person. Some patients don't want to be hooked up to machines to prolong their lives when doctors finally rule that their bodies are starting to shutdown. I read where this happened to Terry Schavio. What is Church teaching on this?

Answer by Judie Brown on 03-08-2018:

Dear Christopher

Here is Saint Pope John Paul II statement on this question, which is the same as Catholic teaching on the topic of whether or not food and/or fluids can be withdrawn from a patient:

Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.

Judie

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