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By Ronald P. Hamel, James J. Walter

Up to now few many years, high-profile situations like that of Terry Schiavo have fueled the general public debate over forgoing or retreating synthetic food and hydration from sufferers in a continual vegetative kingdom (PVS). those circumstances, no matter if regarding adults or little ones, have compelled many to start pondering in a measured and cautious approach concerning the ethical legitimacy of permitting sufferers to die. Can households forgo or withdraw man made hydration and foodstuff from their household while no desire of restoration turns out attainable? Many Catholics be aware of that Catholic ethical theology has formulated a well-developed and well-reasoned place in this and different end-of-life concerns, person who distinguishes among ''ordinary'' and ''extraordinary'' remedy. yet contemporary occasions have prompted uncertainty and confusion or even acrimony one of the trustworthy. In his 2004 allocution, Pope John Paul II proposed that synthetic food and hydration is a sort of uncomplicated care, hence suggesting that the availability of such care to sufferers neurologically incapable of feeding themselves might be thought of an ethical legal responsibility. The pope's handle, which looked as if it would have provided a brand new improvement to a long time of Catholic wellbeing and fitness care ethics, sparked a contentious debate one of the devoted over how top to regard completely subconscious sufferers in the tenets of Catholic morality. during this finished and balanced quantity, Ronald Hamel and James Walter current twenty-one essays and articles, contributed by means of physicians, clergy, theologians, and ethicists, to mirror the spectrum of views at the concerns that outline the Catholic debate. geared up into six elements, every one with its personal creation, the essays supply medical details on PVS and feeding tubes; discussions at the Catholic ethical culture and the way it'd be altering; ecclesiastical and pastoral statements on forgoing or retreating meals and hydration; theological and moral analyses at the factor; remark on Pope John Paul II's 2004 allocution; and the theological observation, courtroom judgements, and public coverage as a result of the Clarence Herbert and Claire Conroy criminal situations. A worthy source for college students and students, this teachable quantity invitations theological discussion and moral dialogue on some of the most contested concerns within the church this present day.

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Extra resources for Artificial Nutrition and Hydration and the Permanently Unconscious Patient: The Catholic Debate

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Cronin, Conserving Human Life, p. 66. 25. G. Kelly, “The Duty of Using Artificial Means of Preserving Life,” Theological Studies 11 (June 1950): 203–20; G. Kelly, “The Duty to Preserve Life,” Theological Studies 12 (December 1951): 550–56. 26. Pius XII, “The Prolongation of Life,” in Critical Choices and Critical Care, ed. K. W. Wildes (Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press, 1995), 189–96. 27. O’Rourke, Development of Church Teaching on Prolonging Life, p. 5; J. J. Walter makes a similar assessment of morally obligatory and morally optional means of prolonging life, though under a quality of life approach and not an ordinary–extraordinary means approach, in “The Meaning Catholic Teaching on Prolonging Life 49 and Validity of Quality of Life Judgments in Contemporary Roman Catholic Medical Ethics,” in Quality of Life: The New Medical Dilemma, ed.

For patients who cannot make decisions for themselves, they hold, treatment decisions should be made by an appropriate surrogate, and should be rendered in light of what the patients themselves would have decided. The Texas bishops conclude by claiming that patients, including those in a PVS, must never be abandoned and should always be provided supportive nursing care in order to maintain personal dignity and hygiene. The bishops point out that appropriate withdrawal of medically assisted nutrition and hydration from PVS patients is not abandonment.

7. D. A. Cronin, Conserving Human Life, ed. Russell E. : Pope John Center, 1989), 34. This work is a republication of Cronin’s doctrinal dissertation The Moral Law in Regard to the Ordinary and Extraordinary Means of Conserving Life (Rome: Gregorianum, 1958). 8. Some authors begin their historical sketches of Catholic teaching on prolonging life with Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), who set the parameters for the discussion. Most recognize Vitoria as the first theologian to explicitly address questions around the means to prolong life.

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