COMPASSION AND CHOICES OF MINNESOTA
POSITION STATEMENT ON
AND HYDRATION DECISIONS
Especially when nutrition and hydration are being
provided through tubes,
these means of life-support should be
regarded as medical care.
And all health-care decisions should be made in the best interests of
Whether to begin, continue, or discontinue tube-feeding are decisions
that should be made first by the patient himself or herself.
And when the patient can no longer make medical decisions,
health-care choices should be made by proxies for the patient.
Health-care proxies should be selected by the patient.
And when that is no longer possible, the doctor should consult the
as has been done ever since the dawn of medical practice.
The laws of the United States or of any state
should not interfere with medical decisions at the bedside.
The law should not attempt to establish a default medical choice,
which would be followed unless there were approved means of making a
At present, we have a wide range of moral
Legislators should resist the temptation to put their own moral choices
All legislators should apply their own moral choices to themselves and
their loved ones.
And allow all other Minnesotans to do the same.
Providing nutrition and hydration (food and
water) is a highly-charged issue
because such means of life-support are more closely associated with
love and care
than providing air, for example, even tho air is more immediately
necessary to survival.
Compassion & Choices of Minnesota
encourages all Minnesotans
to write their own advance directives for medical care.
And these should include specific instructions
about providing food and water by means of tubes.
Under what conditions would you want to be maintained
by artificial nutrition and hydration?
Under what conditions would you want such means of life-support
Your advance directive should also appoint a
proxy or set of proxies
to make medical decisions for you
if and when you are no longer able to make wise medical decisions
or to communicate your wishes.
And neither the US Congress nor the Minnesota
should attempt to influence medical decisions made by patients and/or