Bioethics Blogs

Oregon Court Denies Right to Advance VSED

I have written several times about the Margot Bentley case in which the BC courts denied a dementia patient’s request (in her advance directive) to not be fed in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

Now, an Oregon court has reached a similar decision.  The patient’s husband first tried to have the spoon-feeding stopped, but was overruled by the Oregon ombudsman’s office.  The husband then filed a lawsuit arguing that “There was overwhelming evidence and testimony that she wouldn’t want to be spoon-fed.”

But on July 13, 2016, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Crain said that she could not order the nursing home to stop spoon-feeding Nora Harris because the state ombudsman’s office says not helping her eat would be a violation of state law.

Apparently, Nora’s advance directive did not explicitly say that she did not want help eating, plus it stated her husband could decide to withhold only artificial nutrition and hydration on her behalf.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.