Pope John Paul II surprised much of the medical world in 2004 with his strongly worded statement insisting that patients in a persistent vegetative state should be provided with nutrition and hydration. This collection of essays featuring some of the most prominent Catholic bioethicists addresses the Pope's statements, the moral issues surrounding artificial feeding and hydration, the refusal of treatment, and the ethics of care for those at the end of life.
Preface: Christopher Tollefsen;Part One: The Issue;1: Why Do Unresponsive Patients Still Matter?Bishop Anthony Fisher, O.P.;2: Are We Morally Obligated to Feed PVS Patients Until Natural Death?Michael Degnan;3: Caring for Persons in the 'Persistent Vegetative State' and Pope John Paul II's March 2004 Address 'On Life-Sustaining Treatments and the Vegetative State'.William E. May;4: Food and Fluids: Human Law, Human Rights and Human Interests.Jacqueline Laing;Part Two: Philosophers Address the Issue.5: Quality of Life and Assisted Nutrition.Alfonso Gomez-Lobo;6: Towards Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration.Joseph Boyle;7: Understanding the Ethics of Artificially Providing Food and Water.J.L.A. Garcia;8: The Ethics of Pope John Paul's Allocution on Care of the PVS Patient: A Response to J.L.A. Garcia.Peter Cataldo;Part Three: Symposium on the Views of Fr. Kevin O'Rourke, O.P.9: Reflections on the Papal Allocution Concerning Care for PVS Patients.Fr. Kevin O'Rourke, O.P;10:The Papal Allocution Concerning Care for PVS Patients: a Reply to Fr. O'Rourke.Patrick Lee;11: Response to Patrick Lee.Fr. Kevin O'Rourke, O.P.;12: The Morality of Tube Feeding PVS Patients: A Critique of the View of Kevin O'Rourke, O.P.Mark S. Latkovic;Part Four: Concluding Reflections.12: Ten Errors Regarding End of Life Issues, and Especially Artificial Nutrition and Hydration.Christopher Tollefsen.
From the reviews:
"This collection of essays ... deals primarily with the permissibility, according to Roman Catholic teachings, of withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH). ... Although the book will certainly be most useful to those within the Catholic tradition ... the book will appeal to a variety of other academics as well. ... it is currently the most rigorous philosophical or theological work dedicated to the topic of withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration." (D. Robert MacDougall, Doody's Review Service, October, 2008)
"Tollefsen has done a signal service to the debate by assembling a diverse, thoughtful collection of the work of philosophers and theologians in a single volume. This collection is especially valuable because the contributors represent a variety of viewpoints and theological methods. ... This book is a must read for serious students of this latest debate in Catholic moral theology. ... Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners."
"Christopher Tollefsen has gathered a number of well-known and respected Catholic scholars to discuss a key bioethical issue: the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration from patients, particularly those in a persistent vegetative state. ... Tollefsen has provided an immensely useful resource both for Catholic scholars ... and for those who do not understand or who honestly disagree with Catholic moral principles concerning the proper care of patients in a PVS and others who are nearing the end of life in this world." (Jason T. Eberl, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Autumn, 2009)
Includes voices from all sides of the Catholic discussion in dialogue with one another
Includes many of the top Catholic bioethicists in the English speaking world
Situates the debate in the larger perspective of the Catholic tradition of end of life care and the dignity of human life
Situates the debate in the larger perspective of the social/communal norms governing the care of the dependent, and the role of food in human communities