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Am J Public Health. 1985 Jun;75(6):685-8.

Fashion and freedom: when artificial feeding should be withdrawn.



Appellate courts in three states have now ruled that there is no legal difference between artificial feeding and any other medical treatment and that therefore feeding may be refused by a competent patient or, in appropriate circumstances, by the family or guardian of an incompetent patient. Annas discusses the ethical and legal problems presented by these cases--California's Barber v. Superior Court, New Jersey's In re Conroy, and Massachusetts' In re Hier. He concludes that statutes are needed that would enhance the rights of competent individuals to refuse any treatment and to execute a living will or assign a durable power of attorney. Legislation is also needed to protect incompetents by providing a mechanism for legal guardians to refuse treatment.

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