Bioethics News

Withdrawing life support in patients in permament vegetative state. Is it ethical?

One major ethical issue is to determine whether artificial nutrition and hydration should be withdrawn from patients in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) or minimally conscious state (MCS). In a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics (41; 157-160, 2015), 51 families of patients in both states were interviewed. It concluded that even people who believe that there is no effective treatment for their family member were “horrified at the idea of causing death by ‘starvation and dehydration’”. They think that in both circumstances, PVS or MCS, life support should be maintained.

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