October 13, 1999

Lack of Evidence About Tube Feeding—Food for Thought

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Highland Hospital/University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

JAMA. 1999;282(14):1380-1381. doi:10.1001/jama.282.14.1380

Food plays important biological, social, religious, and symbolic roles in our society. From a mother breastfeeding her infant to a grandmother serving a meal, the provision of nutrition is a common way to demonstrate love and affection. Given these important roles of food, great concern arises when a person loses the ability to eat, a characteristic that often accompanies the dying process. During this time of great distress, families turn to familiar ways of providing comfort and expressing love, and the inability to provide food can be very unsettling.

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