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Wit hdrawing artificial feeding from children with brain damage

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 02 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1502
  1. P E Shannon, Research registrar in anaesthetics
  1. Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield S10 2JR

    EDITOR,--Ronald E Cranford's editorial on withdrawing artificial feeding from children with brain damage aims to encourage debate about basic medical and ethical principles.1 Yet I believe that the central medical and ethical issues are not fairly addressed.

    Firstly, Cranford states that so called artificial feeding is medical treatment but implies that normal eating and drinking are not. Surely this is specious. Tube feeding, whether by nasogastric tube or gastrostomy, is largely done to protect the patient's airway from soiling and for nursing expediency. Moreover, …

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