Navigation Links
Vatican Affirms Church Teaching on Nutrition and Hydration for Individuals In 'Vegetative State'
Date:9/14/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to a request by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reaffirmed the Catholic Church's teaching on providing nutrition and hydration to patients in a persistent "vegetative state."

The bishops presented two questions in a formal manner, known as a "dubium," to the Congregation. The reply was approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

The responses reaffirm the church position that patients in a "vegetative state" are living human beings with inherent dignity and deserve the same basic care as other patients. This basic care would include nutrition and hydration, even when provided through artificial assistance.

"The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life," according to the Congregation's response. "It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented."

The bishops also asked for clarification as to whether nutrition and hydration could be removed if physicians determined that the patient would never recover consciousness. The Congregation affirmed that the patient must receive "ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means" regardless of the prognosis of recovery of consciousness.

A Vatican commentary noted some possible exceptions.

"When stating that the administration of food and water is morally obligatory in principle, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not exclude the possibility that, in very remote places or in situations of extreme poverty, the artificial provision of food and water may be physically impossible," it said.

"Nor is the possibility excluded that, due to emerging complications, a patient may be unable to assimilate food and liquids, so that their provision becomes altogether useless. Finally, the possibility is not absolutely excluded that, in some rare cases, artificial nourishment and hydration may be excessively burdensome for the patient or may cause significant physical discomfort, for example resulting from complications in the use of the means employed."

"These exceptional cases, however, take nothing away from the general ethical criterion, according to which the provision of water and food, even by artificial means, always represents a natural means for preserving life, and is not a therapeutic treatment. Its use should therefore be considered ordinary and proportionate, even when the 'vegetative state' is prolonged," it added.

The bishops asked the Holy See for clarification of the Church's teaching after Pope John Paul II's address on March 20, 2004, to an international congress sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

"We are grateful that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded to our request with such a thorough investigation and explanation," Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Doctrine, said in introducing the Response. "We hope the Church's documents on this issue will provide help and guidance to pastors, ethicists, doctors, nurses and families involved in the care of those diagnosed as being in a persistent 'vegetative state.'"

The responses from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) (http://www.usccb.org/comm/hydrationletter.doc), a CDF commentary (http://www.usccb.org/comm/hydrationcommentary.doc), approved by Cardinal William Levada and bishop members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and a Q&A from the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Committee on Pro-Life Activities (http://www.usccb.org/comm/hydrationq&a.doc ) can be found on the Web.


'/>"/>
SOURCE United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Vatican’s Message For World AIDS Day Condemns ‘Pansexual Cultur’
2. Vaticans Council Reviews Condom Usage
3. Vatican Vacillates on the Condom Ban
4. Catholics Should Halt Amnesty Support Over Abortion Issue: Vatican
5. India Reaffirms Fullest Commitment In Fight Against AIDS
6. FDA Reaffirms Policy Barring MSM From Donating Blood
7. Charlotte Church Warns kiss n tell girls not to flirt with Henson
8. Catholic Church and Abortion.
9. Head Of The Church Of England Asks NHS To Respect Patient Needs
10. Attending Church Has a Positive Effect on the Elderly
11. Church Supports HIV Test Before Marriage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... N.Y (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori ... became a member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special needs ... changing laws and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder law ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) ... a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed ... and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has ... least understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints a ... centuries. Many have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says that ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” ... the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San ... using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are ... cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/5/2017)... ROSEMONT, Ill. , Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) ... than opioids – to be used as a ... post-surgical pain. ... relationship, the AAOMS White Paper "Opioid Prescribing: Acute ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Oct. 2, 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... for the third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October ... on that day with the investment community and media ... The conference call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern ... a live webcast of the conference call through a ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early ... of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of ... Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions ... affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: