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February 8, 1993

Dehydrating to Terminate Is Different From Dehydrating the Terminal-Reply

Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(3):399-400. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410030099016

In my article,1 I was suggesting the treatment of withholding medical hydration for dying patients only. It was not meant to be construed as a treatment for patients who can and wish to recover; that would be clearly ethically wrong.

This topic can and does cause deep emotional responses. It is important for us to know our issues around this topic as well as possible. None of us, I am sure, wants our unresolved feelings to effect patient care in an adverse way.

A study on comfort in the dying patient is certainly needed if we are to address this area of medicine in a rational manner. I feel that an ethical study could be done, and actually have begun designing a protocol. However, funding and academic interest in this area has been difficult to find.

In reference to the matter of volunteering for no intravenous or nasogastric intervention

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