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Source:

AJN, American Journal of Nursing

September 2009, Volume 109 Number 9 , p 52 - 61

Author

  • Judith K. Schwarz PhD, RN

Abstract

Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, in which death occurs within one to three weeks of beginning the fast, is increasingly explored in the literature and mainstream media as an option to be discussed with "decisionally capable," suffering patients who want to hasten their dying. The author uses an example from her experience to describe stopping eating and drinking, as well as other clinical practices associated with hastening dying; explores whether this practice can or should be distinguished from suicide; and discusses the ethical and legal implications for nurses.

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