What rights does a daughter have over the decision to remove her father's feeding tube?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
Help with advice asked...

If a patient was being fed with a nasal tube..and it was taken out and a decision was made by his wife not to feed him by using any means..how long will he have before he becomes terminal or dies. He had no living will but has a biological daughther, does she have any rights to despute this decision. The wife does not to pay for nursing home care and his vitals has been great..he did have surgery for an cerebral hemmorhage, but is not in a coma and recognizes family and squeezes our hands to our responses.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The doctors attending the patient who have a better picture of his complete health history are in a better position to give an informed guess at how and how soon the end of his life will progress. But no one can know this for sure. And those in the room"”especially family members who are often stressed over dealing with such a difficult situation"”often disagree about the type of care that should be given.

Since the patient had no living will, the doctors usually take guidance about medical decisions from his closest relative, which they will consider to be his wife in most cases.

If the daughter disagrees with the type of care he is getting and she and his wife cannot work out their differences, the daughter could talk over her concerns with the hospital ombudsman or patient representative.

Community Answers

Marly26 answered...

I'm not saying that the daughter has no say in this situation however, nobody knows how long the parent/husband will survive. I feel that it should be left to the wife only because if he does survive but is only able to squeeze your hand his wife would most likely have to put him in a Nursing Home. She would not be able herself to care for her husband 24/7 and it is a very stressful situation to be in. Yes there is Homecare however for only a few hrs.per wk. Many siblings will say they will do their part only to back off when the going gets rough, which is hardly fair to "mom". He will need to be fed, diapered,linen changed with him in the bed. All of this is something to speak about before anything else. Myself as a Homecare Aide have seen families break ties because they just cant' handle the stress that comes with a situation like this. Its' best to ask the Physician in charge as to how long he may live (thats' a tough one) where to get care etc. Will he ever be able to do anything else other than squeeze your hand. It sounds like to tube has been removed at this point, his vitals right now seem normal but will that last? Nobody has answers' to all of these questions especially the lenght of his life. Is he suffering now, in pain of any kind. Surgery may have taken a toll on him and he may never come out of the state that he is in at this point. Sometimes' we look at someone and they seem fine,which almost always happens prior to passing, and then they are gone. You have to ask "would you want to be in his condition" depending on someone 24/7. As much as he recognizes' everyone this itself could be just a passing. My prayers and hugs are with all of the family members, since "mom" has pulled the plug knowing or feeling his pain and suffering, she herself knows that she couldn't handle him in their home, so there he would be in a Nursing Home.