Forced feeding

  1. What are your thoughts or experiences on force feeding an inmate who refuses to eat? The inmates K+ is dangerously low and he refuses to accept meds and food.
  2. Visit 2003rn profile page

    About 2003rn

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 60; Likes: 8
    Staff nurse; from WV , US
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in geriatrics, med-surg, corrections

    14 Comments

  3. by   PurrRN
    If the patient is considered mentally competent at this point and is making the decsion to not eat, then I would consider it unethical and even possibly assault to force feed them even though they are endangering their life. One of the things I got out of the Ethics in Health Care classes I took, was that we don't have the right to force treatment even if it is in the patients best interest. A hard thing to accept I know, but there you have it.
  4. by   hospicemom
    I am a hospice nurse who does the prison thing on the side. If someone chooses to hunger strike I say go for it, however....with a court order to treat I have had to have them tied down and NG them. Not cool, but it happens.
  5. by   BSNtobe2009
    Angie, I'm with you on that one. I wonder if anyone has ever seen an actual statistic on how many inmates died from a hunger strike?

    If they are serving life without parole, or on death row, I say more power to them.
  6. by   hospicemom
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Angie, I'm with you on that one. I wonder if anyone has ever seen an actual statistic on how many inmates died from a hunger strike?

    If they are serving life without parole, or on death row, I say more power to them.
    ya, its funny how quick they change their mind when they see ya walk to the cell with three cans of suppliment and an NG.......hehe
  7. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'll bet!

    I actually did some research on this after my post, and discovered some people have starved themselves to death in prison. There were several here in the USA during the 1920's, but it's hard to say if they starved themselves to death or if they died from the prison conditions due to a lowered immune system from not eating.

    The hunger strikes got a resurgence in the 1980's, but I couldn't find where any of them resulted where a prisoner dies. It happens alot in Europe, but probably doesn't go here b/c most American prisoners live better than people in 3rd world countries.
  8. by   **nurse**
    hmmmm. I've only had ONE cry hunger strike, and he immediately changed his mind when I told him the govenor would NOT give an order for a tube feeding.........Ya mean you'd let me die?????????
  9. by   irish_std/n
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I'll bet!

    I actually did some research on this after my post, and discovered some people have starved themselves to death in prison. There were several here in the USA during the 1920's, but it's hard to say if they starved themselves to death or if they died from the prison conditions due to a lowered immune system from not eating.

    The hunger strikes got a resurgence in the 1980's, but I couldn't find where any of them resulted where a prisoner dies. It happens alot in Europe, but probably doesn't go here b/c most American prisoners live better than people in 3rd world countries.
    Mabye I misread your post but I hardly think its fair to term european countries, 3rd world countries!
  10. by   nomadicV
    Generally it takes a court order in order to sink a g-tube. When the consequence is being sued by the family for failing to do all you could and having the IM to die; I don't have a problem with it.
  11. by   nomadicV
    Having had experience with hunger strikers, most don't go the distance (in my experience) Funny story: I had one guy who'd declared a hunger strike. In my system, it's not a hunger strike until 72 hours has passed so I told him of this. Looking at the guy: he was overweight and young--I knew he'd never go the distance. I brought him to the clinic during staff meal when we were having a potluck. Sat him within visual and olfactory distance and largely ignored him for about 5-15 min: he was asking for soup within minutes
  12. by   nomadicV
    I told one guy that he'd faint before he died and that I would be standing there with the largest bore needle I could find and pump him so full of sugar (D50) that he'd wake up with a high.
  13. by   CorrRx
    I see this an old thread, but it is a new issue for me. I am a Nurse Manager of Jail health service. We have a court order, he is 24 days into his strike. Our issue is that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Ethically we have been unable to find a an MD who will do it. I haven't dropped a tube in over 20 years. Do i do it and reisk being sued? He has minor children and apparently that has some bearing on a legal outcome. So with this caveat in mind he on one hand states -we can not force feed him (it has literally been called punishment and torture after Gitmo.)- On the other, his children have rights to have him be kept alive. So at this point which is the choice?
  14. by   nancykday
    The PA DOC has an entire policy on hunger strike. It is instituted after the inmate has missed 9 consecutive meals. They must be evaluated by a MD and Psychiatrist, sign a consent theythey are aware of the results of starvation. They are admitted to the infirmary, have daily VS amd weights lab work is ordered on routine basis. They have always started to eat at our facility within aday of admission to the infirmary, and are usually "rewarded" with Ensure. They call it their milkshake. Wave it below their noses and they lap it up. Not sure why, I think it's taste is disgusting, but they love it. I think it's just for the attention and the reward of Ensure. If they I/M is declared incompetent by psych they will be restrained and force feed but in 11 years, I have never seen this happen.

Must Read Topics


close