Disability group urges continuing life support as long as necessary

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The National Catholic Partnership on Disability is calling on health care providers to continue life support as long as necessary for people who cannot determine for themselves that such support is needed, unless death is “inevitable and imminent.” In an Aug. 22 statement outlining its stance, the Washington-based partnership said life support can be withdrawn only when death is imminent “to ensure that the terminal condition, not the withholding or withdrawal of treatment, is the cause of death.” The statement was adopted to prevent the gradual acceptance of what Stephen L. Mikochik, the partnership’s chairman-elect, called “euthanasia by omission.” The partnership’s action comes as the debate evolves in the medical profession about “futile care” and the appropriateness of continuing treatment that the American Medical Association describes as not having a “reasonable chance” of benefiting a patient.

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