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Hastening the death of a person by ceasing or altering some form of support, which otherwise would help the patient to live longer, and allowing the patient to die from the underlying physical condition. These can include such actions as:
The removal of life support equipment (e.g. ventilator or respirator);
Termination or withholding of medical procedures (e.g., medications, antibiotics, blood products, etc.);
Cessation or withholding of nutrition (food) and hydration (water), and allowing the person to starve to death or dehydrate;
Withholding of CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), defibrillation, etc., and allowing a person, whose heart has stopped, to die.
Termination of Treatment Questions & Answers
American Medical Association Policy on Withholding & Withdrawing Treatment
Patient Refusal of Nutrition and Hydration. Ira R. Byock, American Journal Hospice & Palliative Care, March/April 1995.
Responding to Intractable Terminal Suffering: The Role of Terminal Sedation and Voluntary Refusal of Food and Fluids. Ira Byock and Timothy Quill, Annals of Internal Medicine. 2000.