Catholic Bishops Vote to Reaffirm Food and Water for Coma, “Vegetative” Patients

The nation’s Catholic bishops have agreed to strengthen the requirement that Catholic hospitals give food and water to comatose or patients in a so-called “vegetative” state. The move drew praise and support from the family of Terri Schiavo, whose former husband killed in her by removing her nutrition. On an overwhelming vote, the bishops voted 219-4 to guide Catholic heath care facilities towards the moral responsibility to feed and hydrate such patients. The bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services told caregivers at U.S. Catholic hospitals to use a presumption in favor of protecting human life.