There has been increasing advocacy in bioethics that nursing homes starve patients to death by VSED which stands for “voluntary stopping eating and drinking”-suicide by self-starvation.
The issue with this is that it is just inhumane… bottom line. One of the worst ways to die is to starve to death. What’s going to be next, when the elderly are mentally incompetent we are going to start euthanasia once we get to a certain age?
In an article “Complexities of Choosing an End Game for Dementia” by Paula Span from The New York Times, she talks about patient Jerome Medalie who keeps an advance directive in his front pocket. As we age this seems to be pretty common for most, but Medalie’s advanced directive has an unusual specifics. It states that if he develops Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, he refuses “ordinary means of nutrition and hydration.”
If we legally require nursing homes to abide by this, we would be forcing them to kill, and kill cruelly. Not only is this inhumane for the patient, but for the medical staff to have to make those type of decisions is crazy.
Should we allow nursing homes to allow VSED?
Read the full article The New York Times Wants to Force Nursing Homes to Starve Alzheimers Patients to Death
Photo credit Sparkle Glowplug