Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy

Designation for Allowing a Natural Death
("A.N.D.") would Eliminate Confusion and Suffering
When Patients are Resuscitated Against their Wishes

Allow Natural Death--An Alternative To DNR

Around 1998 and thereafter, the Rev Chuck Meyer in Texas suggested creating a new designation: A.N.D. in order to allow a natural death. This has been misinterpreted by those who support euthanasia and assisted-suicide or imposing death. Intentionally imposing death is a complete betrayal of the hospice mission and destroys the opportunity to provide authentic palliative care at the end of life.

While there is no obligation to have extraordinary treatments, surgeries, etc., providing basic care and accepting ordinary care is part of authentic supportive healthcare! If someone is actually really at the end and is dying — when they are actively dying — they cannot eat or drink and their tongue dries up, etc along with over a dozen signs of active phase of dying. At that time, forcing fluids and food is actually harmful.

However, before that time, the provision of food and water is basic care and is not to be withheld! Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) before one cannot take them in by ordinary means (or a feeding tube) is unethical and is an immoral method of suicide. Withholding food and water from a dependent patient who can benefit from food and water is euthanasia and would kill anyone. It is contrary to authentic hospice ethics.

"Allowing natural death" is what the original hospice advocates spoke about, but it meant an entirely different thing then!

People who wish to take things out of context and twist things will always do so. We oppose artificially withdrawing food and water by anyone, even by the patient him/herself and support allowing a natural death in its own natural timing when God takes the patient. Allowing a natural death is not the same as killing the patient by artificially doing things to kill the patient. We have a duty to live and the end days serve a purpose even if some doubt that.

The end-of-life is an opportunity for people to prepare for death, prepare spiritually as they understand their own reality and faith, and to heal relationships with family and friends, and to say their goodbyes. To remove this end period in the life of a patient is to deprive the patient and others of this sacred and short period of time where some of the most wonderful communication and loving exchanges occur!

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