Asked in Hospice

Can you stop your brother and sisters from going along with Hospice in the starvation death of your aging mother?


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You can try to file an injunction to be heard within a day, as your mother would likely be dead by the time the case reached a court. If your mother filed appropriate paperwork naming one of your siblings as her health care proxy and she filled out a living will detailing what she wanted done at the end of her life, you will probably not be successful in overriding your mother's wishes. You need to ask yourself why you are willing to take legal action to stop your mother from having the kind of dying process she wants and has worked out with your siblings and hospice.

If someone is in hospice care- or dying-there is no such thing as a starvation death. Actually, to care for someone during the dying process you need to only try to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. As the body's organs begin to shut down from age or a disease process, giving food (by mouth or tube feeding) will actually cause problems. The motility of the intestines slow, so the food just sits in the stomach unprocessed. This will cause nausea/vomiting or bloating- same with fluids. If fluids are given IV, this can cause heart failure (the heart is also shutting down and can no longer pump through the extra volume resulting from IV fluids. Fluids back up into the lungs and cause breathing distress). If someone who is dying expresses a desire for food/fluids- of course this should never be withheld. But in situations when a person is no longer lucid, unresponsive, and actively dying, food and fluids can cause more discomfort and even pain.