People can die from overeating

Dying by giving up food and drink

Status: 05.11.2018 3:25 pm | archive
When people die by foregoing food, people decide for themselves about their death.

When people voluntarily forego food and fluids, this is a particular challenge for relatives, doctors and nurses - especially if there is no illness that will soon lead to death. Some people see it as a way to make self-determined decisions about the end of their own lives. The lengthy process puts those affected and their families to the test, but it also offers the opportunity to accompany the dying person on his or her last journey.

Voluntary abstinence from eating and drinking

Doctors and palliative care workers differentiate the "voluntary renunciation of food and fluids" from the renunciation of food in the case of old and terminally ill people who no longer eat or drink shortly before the end of their life. They die from their illness, but not from lack of food.

Dying by foregoing food

Many doctors and nurses demand that the self-determined abstinence from food must be preceded by a clear declaration of will by the person concerned in the context of a consultation. In an agreement it should be determined how the remaining lifetime will be designed. Only then can a doctor support the complete renouncement of food and fluids.

Time of suffering

Many people assume that without food and fluids, one will get tired and die within a few days. In fact, the process can take weeks. During this time, doctors have to repeatedly check whether the will of the person concerned is still there. Because after the euphoria of the first few days, a time of suffering often begins.

If a person stops drinking at the end of their life, regular oral hygiene is important to relieve the excruciating feeling of thirst. Nurses usually ask the dying about their favorite beverages and also perform oral care with, for example, juice or wine. For people who voluntarily do not want to drink anymore, on the other hand, only water is used for oral care so as not to stimulate the sense of taste again.

What can palliative medicine achieve?

Palliative care professionals can make life easier and reduce pain for people with incurable diseases. Psychological and social care is also important. more

Care: Emergency in the hospital

According to studies, there is a shortage of 100,000 nurses at hospitals in Germany. The overload increases the risk of fatal errors for those in need of care. more

Experts on the subject

Dr. Wolfgang Schwarz, specialist in general medicine
Corina Klein, graduate social worker
Antje Weiß, palliative nurse
St. Marianus Palliative Center I
Schlöpkeweg 8
21357 Bardowick
(04131) 92 51 50

additional Information
German Society for Palliative Medicine e. V.
Aachener Strasse 5
10713 Berlin
(030) 30 10 10 00

Frauke Luckwaldt
I want to die independently
My father's brave decision to die fast
Ernst Reinhardt Publishing House
Munich 2018
ISBN 978-3-497-02750-7
Price: € 14.90

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Visit | 11/06/2018 | 8:15 pm