I agree with KaroSnowQueen. I faced a situation when I was a care manager in LTC a couple of years ago in which a resident's daughter and son-in-law, who hadn't even visited her in months, suddenly decided she was "in terrible pain" and got her MD to order morphine (10-20mg IV every 4 hours around the clock). They also convinced the doc that she was dying, and he ordered us to stop giving her food and fluids.
Now, having suffered from Alzheimer's for many years, the resident wasn't in a position to make these decisions. But for her so-called family to come in and basically force us to drug her and starve her to death was still wrong, IMHO. I have no problem with allowing people to die naturally, in God's time rather than ours, but I do have an issue with being asked to commit murder, which is what I (along with my nursing staff and the facility administrator) believed this family was doing. So I called both Senior Services and the MD, told them that we were NOT going to give morphine in those doses to a pt who weighed maybe 90# wringing wet, and who had been assessed by several different staff members and found not to be in pain. I also told them we could not deny food and fluids to someone not actively in the process of dying. (This doctor hadn't even seen the resident for months---I've never understood how he, in good conscience, could have given orders like these without having first assessed her.)
The family, of course, was furious. I told them that they would have to take her home---we, as nurses, could not and WOULD not be the instruments of this woman's demise. They said they couldn't deal with her at home, then called in another doctor who took one look at her and said "She has no quality of life, it's time to let Nature take its course" before ordering us to give her the morphine (every SIX hours). He did tell us we could offer food and fluids, though, and ordered PRN oxygen for "comfort".
Senior Services told us they couldn't do anything to help us at this point, so we basically were stuck. That was when the family began taking turns staying with the resident to make sure we gave the morphine on schedule, and to discourage the aides from "forcing her to eat". In the two weeks it took her to die, she developed pressure sores on her coccyx and both trochanters, and her lips became cracked and then ulcerated from dehydration. (To say the least, the morphine came in handy as one system and then another began to fail.)
Again, I am against prolonging life artificially, especially in cases where the pt is suffering from some intractably painful or degrading condition. I hate it when families go to the other extreme and demand full-code status for a 98-year-old who's full of cancer and in the final stages of dementia. However, I do NOT condone actively hastening death in any case, regardless of the so-called justifications for it (e.g., "no quality of life").
And that's all I have to say about *that*.