Posted by: adventlife | February 7, 2014

Is Food & Water Extraordinary or Basic Care?

Basic Care 2

You might remember the case of Terri Schiavo who was starved to death for lack of food and water by order of the court. The picture of the ten year old boy who was arrested by the police for the crime of trying to give the dying woman a glass of water is still fresh in my mind.

Well, since then, there have been many similar cases with similar outcomes. So the question is: Is food and water extraordinary or basic care? Can relatives demand that a patient be deprived of food and water on the premise that water and nourishment represent extraordinary medical care?

This question was submitted to the British Columbia Supreme Court recently, and you will be surprised by the ruling of the court. I picked a few paragraphs from an article written by Colin Kerr and published by LifeSiteNews entitled “Food and water is basic care, not medical intervention: British Columbia Supreme Court.”

Vancouver, B.C., February 4, 2014 (LifeSite – A British Columbia court has ruled that food and water is basic care and so cannot be withdrawn as though it were an extraordinary medical intervention.

In a decision issued Monday, Justice Greyell of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled the nursing home where Alzheimer patient Margaret Bentley resides would be guilty of neglect were it to follow Bentley’s 1991 living will.

“Withdrawing oral nutrition and hydration for an adult that is not capable of making that decision would constitute neglect within the meaning of the Adult Guardianship Act,” he wrote.

Bentley’s family sought a declaration from the court that she “not be given nourishment or liquids,” asserting that she had “expressed strong wishes while she was mentally capable that she did not want to be given nourishment or liquids in her current condition,” the court documents stated.

Bentley, who is 82, is a patient at Maplewood Care, an elderly care facility in Abbotsford. The facility was among the parties opposing the family’s legal action. There she is being spoon- and cup-fed, but is not being force-fed.

Expert opinion heeded by the court determined that Bentley is at an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s, but is not, in fact, dying as a result of the disease. Because of this, the judge determined that the withdrawal of nourishment would be the cause of her death, and therefore illegal. …



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