EWTN Catholic Q&A
Medical treatments
Question from Anonymous on 09-05-2013:

Can one refuse a feeding tube? Dialysis? Breathing tube? What about an IV for nutrition hydration ? There are different types of IVs, eg some are ports for extended hydration. We want to follow church teaching which I thought considered hydration ordinary care unless non beneficial like when the body doesn't absorb nutrients but I understand that hospice doesn't administer IV hydration.

Answer by Judie Brown on 09-23-2013:

Dear Anonymous

First of all, hydrating the body is necessary to sustain life in the same way that clean sheets and antibiotics are nothing more than ordinary care. They are compassionate. As you know, without nutrition and hydration starvation occurs and the patient does not die from the disease but of starvation.

On the subject of hospice and hydration, I suggest using this hospice checklist to make sure that you are aware of those hospice facilities that do offer IV hydration. http://www.illinoisrighttolife.org/HospiceChecklist.htm