Catholic Pro-Life Committee


Saving Lives, Healing Hearts and Building Families

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Issues • End of Life Issues • Vegetative State

Life-Sustaining Treatments
and Vegetative States

shutterstock_138231578.jpg"The sick person in a vegetative state, awaiting recovery or a natural end, still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.), and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed. He also has the right to appropriate rehabilitative care and to be monitored for clinical signs of eventual recovery. I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering." -Pope John Paul II



USCCB Q&A on Nutrition and Hydration for Patients in a "Vegetative State"

Address from Pope St. John Paul II  on life sustaining treatments and vegetative state 

More resources on life sustaining treatment and vegetative states