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  #1  
Old May 19, '17, 9:50 am
Padres1969 Padres1969 is offline
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Default Feeding Tubes

Here's a question that's come up in my own life vis-a-vis the Catholic position. What is the Catholic Church's stance on feeding tubes and their use.

Specifically in the elderly who, while sick, would have a very good chance of recovering if they accepted insertion of a feeding tube. But the person in question refuses the tube and will almost certainly die without it as they are no longer able to swallow food due to aspiration issues.

And as an addendum to that, this elderly Catholic, is unable to receive Eucharist during Last Rites as a result of the same aspiration issue.
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  #2  
Old May 19, '17, 10:29 am
Wesrock Wesrock is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

It's my understanding that the use of a feeding tube for someone who is comatose is considered an ordinary level of care that cannot be stopped. The church doesn't require "extraordinary" measures to preserve life, but ordinary measures, of which a feeding tube is one, should not be refused or removed.

For a conscious patient, I don't know, but I wouldn't anticipate it being different....

If you have a personal situation in mind, I would recommend reaching out to the National Catholic Bioethic Center for free council: http://www.ncbcenter.org, and I'd also suggest seeking a priest for counsel.

Edit: I can empathize with the patient. End of life issues are complex. I don't know if the will of the patient should be overridden to force them to eat. That's another factor.
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  #3  
Old May 19, '17, 11:13 am
Padres1969 Padres1969 is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesrock View Post
It's my understanding that the use of a feeding tube for someone who is comatose is considered an ordinary level of care that cannot be stopped. The church doesn't require "extraordinary" measures to preserve life, but ordinary measures, of which a feeding tube is one, should not be refused or removed.

For a conscious patient, I don't know, but I wouldn't anticipate it being different....

If you have a personal situation in mind, I would recommend reaching out to the National Catholic Bioethic Center for free council: http://www.ncbcenter.org, and I'd also suggest seeking a priest for counsel.

Edit: I can empathize with the patient. End of life issues are complex. I don't know if the will of the patient should be overridden to force them to eat. That's another factor.
Thanks for the resource. It definitely provides some guidance on the Catholic position, however clarity appears to be lacking, since it's really a case by case basis.

Seems the Catholic position is that sometimes a feeding tube is "ordinary care" and sometimes it's "extraordinary care" (which explains why CA threads I've found like this tend to devolve into arguments about feeding tubes being ordinary or extraordinary care depending on people's own experience with them). Fact is they're both, but it all depends on the individual's situation. What would be ordinary for one person, is extraordinary for another.

As for my grandmother, given her inability to eat naturally anymore, her ongoing congestive heart failure, and her aspiration issues it definitely seems like a feeding tube would be extraordinary in this case even from a Catholic POV even if it would prolong her life by a few weeks or months.
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  #4  
Old May 19, '17, 12:45 pm
PaulfromIowa PaulfromIowa is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Is someone with a terminal condition morally required to accept a feeding tube? I cannot believe that that would be the case. However, I make no claim of expertise in medical ethics.

I believe that a dying person can receive the Precious Blood if they cannot swallow solid food. Ask a priest about this.
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  #5  
Old May 19, '17, 12:47 pm
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Jeanne S Jeanne S is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesrock View Post
It's my understanding that the use of a feeding tube for someone who is comatose is considered an ordinary level of care that cannot be stopped. The church doesn't require "extraordinary" measures to preserve life, but ordinary measures, of which a feeding tube is one, should not be refused or removed.

For a conscious patient, I don't know, but I wouldn't anticipate it being different....

If you have a personal situation in mind, I would recommend reaching out to the National Catholic Bioethic Center for free council: http://www.ncbcenter.org, and I'd also suggest seeking a priest for counsel.

Edit: I can empathize with the patient. End of life issues are complex. I don't know if the will of the patient should be overridden to force them to eat. That's another factor.
I and my siblings faced this very issue six months ago re our 92 year old Mother.
After a brief stay in a nursing home( she had some ongoing health issues but was very sharp minded still)she ended up in the hospital with what turned out to be CDiff infection along with and ulcer. Long story short ,according to the Doctor on staff there was no physical reason for her to be dying,however after a few days she started refusing any food,wouldn't take her antibiotics and asked for a priest because she felt she was dying.
She continued to decline and died after five days.We did ask our pastor if we were doing anything to aid and abet her death,if we should take extraordinRy measures to nourish her.We were counseled that no,my Mom ,in her right mind so to speak made her own decis ion.
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  #6  
Old May 19, '17, 12:56 pm
Padres1969 Padres1969 is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulfromIowa View Post
Is someone with a terminal condition morally required to accept a feeding tube? I cannot believe that that would be the case. However, I make no claim of expertise in medical ethics.

I believe that a dying person can receive the Precious Blood if they cannot swallow solid food. Ask a priest about this.
Not an option. Swallowing is completely impaired. Fluids must also be given intravenous.
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  #7  
Old May 19, '17, 1:03 pm
Wesrock Wesrock is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulfromIowa View Post
Is someone with a terminal condition morally required to accept a feeding tube? I cannot believe that that would be the case. However, I make no claim of expertise in medical ethics.

I believe that a dying person can receive the Precious Blood if they cannot swallow solid food. Ask a priest about this.
This is another factor. The comatose example I mentioned assumed someone whose body was in otherwise good health and not someone in a deteriorating condition.

I could imagine a crumb or single drop being given to the patient, but I'd have to direct the question to a priest.
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  #8  
Old May 19, '17, 2:06 pm
Bonnie Bonnie is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulfromIowa View Post
Is someone with a terminal condition morally required to accept a feeding tube?
No. Nor is one forced to accept liquids. When my mother was dying we were agreed to let her go - no tubes, no needles. My husband and I have decided the same for ourselves - we told the kids but have to get it in writing. If there is no chance at a normal life (such as being in a long-term coma), we don't want to be resuscitated either.
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  #9  
Old May 19, '17, 3:23 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Contact the National Catholic Bioethics center (were Cath. Answers sends people) -they are the experts.

Such is not something to handle on a forum.
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  #10  
Old May 19, '17, 3:24 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Here https://www.ncbcenter.org/files/8014...s_Required.pdf
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  #11  
Old May 19, '17, 3:25 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Food and water:

https://www.ncbcenter.org/files/5314...nHydration.pdf

"General Rule on Food and Water
• The Catholic Church teaches that life is an intrinsic good. Even when a person is afflicted with illness, that value
remains intact. In fact, the sick and the elderly deserve our special care.
• The default position for the care of those who are suffering from diminished consciousness and have not begun
the death process, as well as for those at the end of life, should be in favor of providing food and water even by
artificial means. If the provision of food and water proves to be useless (if they are not being assimilated by the
body) or if it causes serious complications (such as aspiration pneumonia or infections), it can be stopped."

Those are just the opening bits....read the whole -much more there in the PDF and the one above.

Also read about the need to "Confront the Culture"
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  #12  
Old May 19, '17, 3:35 pm
Padres1969 Padres1969 is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookcat View Post
Contact the National Catholic Bioethics center (were Cath. Answers sends people) -they are the experts.

Such is not something to handle on a forum.
Oh we've already handled as her request to not have a feeding tube has been honored by the doctors at the Catholic hospital she was at, and she has been discharged to hospice to be made comfortable on a morphine drip until she passes. The chaplain priest administered last rites before she was discharged. It's expected that between her other underlying issues and lack of nutrition she'll probably pass in the next several days.
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  #13  
Old May 19, '17, 5:56 pm
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padres1969 View Post
Oh we've already handled as her request to not have a feeding tube has been honored by the doctors at the Catholic hospital she was at, and she has been discharged to hospice to be made comfortable on a morphine drip until she passes. The chaplain priest administered last rites before she was discharged. It's expected that between her other underlying issues and lack of nutrition she'll probably pass in the next several days.
In addition to the documents I provided.

They really are the experts in these sorts of things https://www.ncbcenter.org/

Their number is at the bottom - their ethicists are very good and will call you back. That is what they are there for.
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  #14  
Old May 19, '17, 9:47 pm
Padres1969 Padres1969 is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookcat View Post
In addition to the documents I provided.

They really are the experts in these sorts of things https://www.ncbcenter.org/

Their number is at the bottom - their ethicists are very good and will call you back. That is what they are there for.
Thank you, but nothing to decide at this point. The decision has been made against the tube and we're bound to abide by it as are her physicians as the choice was hers.
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  #15  
Old May 19, '17, 11:57 pm
Rosebud77 Rosebud77 is offline
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Default Re: Feeding Tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padres1969 View Post
Thank you, but nothing to decide at this point. The decision has been made against the tube and we're bound to abide by it as are her physicians as the choice was hers.
Blessings and prayers at this hard time, my friend.
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