Food for Thought: The Push to Starve Helpless Seniors

Richard Doerflinger, M.A.  

On March 11, The Washington Post reported on efforts to expand the “right to die” in Oregon and elsewhere.


The state has passed legislation to study changing its law on “advance directives,” by which people can decide on future care in case they lose cognitive powers. A key supporter of this effort is Bill Harris, whose wife Nora recently died of Alzheimer’s disease. He is angry that caregivers spoon-fed his wife until two days before she died despite her advance instruction to the contrary.


Harris has sued the health facility and lost. The court noted that Nora kept opening her mouth to receive food even when she was unable to do much else. Harris said this should have been dismissed as a “reflexive” action.


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