Bishops approve new directive on Chronic Conditions

11-19-09 US , hydration and ‘vegetative state’
By a 219-4 margin, the bishops of the United States have voted to revise their
“Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” to reflect the
language of a 2004 address by Pope John Paul II and a 2007 document of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith. “As a general rule, there is an obligation to provide
patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for
those who cannot take food orally,” according to the revised directive. “This obligation
extends to patients in chronic conditions (e.g., the ‘persistent vegetative state’) who
can reasonably be expected to live indefinitely if given such care.” . . .

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