From the December, 2004 issue of Touchstone
Food & Drink for the Least of These by Kenneth D. Whitehead

Food & Drink for the Least of These

The Pope Speaks Up for Those on Medical Death Row

by Kenneth D. Whitehead

In March 2004, Pope John Paul II declared at an international conference in Rome that the provision of food and water by tube to unconscious patients in the so-called vegetative state is not “extraordinary” medical care that may or may not be given to them, depending on circumstances, but is rather a part of normal and ordinary patient care. Hence, he said, such care must not be withheld from them, even though most of them have little hope of returning to consciousness, much less of actually recovering.

The pope was in no way saying that artificial means . . .


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