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An abridged version of a much longer interview I gave to the Italian paper Avvenire about the Eluana Englaro and Terri Schiavo cases appeared the other day.  (Hit this link for the English translation and commentary about the interview by Bruce Chapman, head of the Discovery Institute.) It’s interesting that the dehydration issue remains intensly controversial in Italy and other European countries, far more in many respects than here in the USA.

I think a clarification is in order about one aspect of the interview that I explained further to the reporter, but which for space reasons didn’t make the published interview. When I said it should be harder to withdraw tube-supplied sustenance, I was referring to situations in which decisions are being made by others for the patient. While I disagree with wanting to refuse tube sustenance, I think a patient has the right to so decide for themselves that they don’t want a feeding tube. But due to the consequences and symbolism of withdrawing all foods and fluids, I also think such decision should have to be in writing or the overwhelming benefit of the doubt must go to providing medically appropriate nutritional support.

I wrote about that point and other thoughts about this matter in the wake of the Terri Schiavo dehydration in the Weekly Standard.

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