If you're fighting a Catholic hospital for this, here's the ammo...
CONCERNING ARTIFICIAL NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
First question: Is the administration of food and water (whether by natural or artificial means) to a patient in a "vegetative state" morally obligatory except when they cannot be assimilated by the patient’s body or cannot be administered to the patient without causing significant physical discomfort?
Response: Yes. The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented.
Second question: When nutrition and hydration are being supplied by artificial means to a patient in a "permanent vegetative state", may they be discontinued when competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness?
Response: No. A patient in a "permanent vegetative state" is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means.
* * *
The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these Responses, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 1, 2007.
William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
That about covers it. hat tip to Curt Jester
NUTSHELL: (From Fr. Z)
One of the important points to remember is that food and water are not medicine. A person is a vegetative state remains a human being with the need for what is basic to human life. If people see food and water as medicine, as if that person was receiving them as if they were therapy, then you can more easily argue for their denial. Of course there are situations in which adminstering food and water actually harm a person more than they help. Then hard decisions must be made.
But never forget, and keep yourselves attuned to the basic principles. If food and water are seen as therapy for a bad condition, they can be more easily denied. That is the fundamental error being made in many cases. That is why this statement, the response from the CDF, is so important.
notice the date of the Vatican CDF news release?
RISPOSTE DELLA CONGREGAZIONE PER LA DOTTRINA DELLA FEDE A QUESITI DELLA CONFERENZA EPISCOPALE STATUNITENSE CIRCA L’ALIMENTAZIONE E L’IDRATAZIONE ARTIFICIALI , 14.09.2007
do you suppose it's a coincidence that the clarification regarding feeding and hydrating the comatose/PVS individual is released on the same day as the provisions of Summorum Pontificum are in force?