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Bishop issues directives on artificial nutrition, hydration

September 17, 2009

Emphasizing that “a person should die from one’s illness and not because a basic necessity of life was denied them,” Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has issued directives on artificial nutrition and hydration.

“Food and water are basic necessities of life and should be provided to a person even if he or she is unable to manually feed themselves,” he writes. “In fact, it would be inhumane to deprive someone who is thirsty a drink of water no matter who he or she is, or in what condition we find him or her. In short, a person should not die because of being deprived of nutrition and hydration, even if that nutrition and hydration is administered artificially.”

Bishop Olmsted adds that “Catholics are to be provided nutrition and hydration so long as that nutrition and hydration continues to be assimilated by the person’s body and does not contribute to further grave complications and burdens,” such as “in a situation where a person is actively dying, one’s death being imminent.”

 


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