Artificially Administered Nutrition Law and Legal Definition

Artificially Administered Nutrition refers to the provision of nutrients and liquids through the use of tubes, intravenous procedures, or similar medical intervention. Artificial nutrition means receiving nutrition in any form other than the taking in of food and fluid through the mouth (orally). This can be achieved through a nasogastric tube (NG tube), a gastrostomy tube (G tube or PEG tube), or through total parentarel nutrition (TPN).

Oklahoma’s ‘Feeding Tube Forever’ Law or The Hydration and Nutrition for Incompetent Patients Act says that “It shall be presumed that every incompetent patient has directed his health care providers to provide him with hydration and nutrition to a degree that is sufficient to sustain life..”[ 63 Okl. St. § 3080.3]. Here, "Nutrition" means sustenance administered by way of the gastrointestinal tract and an "Incompetent patient" means any person who is a minor, or has been declared legally incompetent to make decisions affecting medical treatment or care, or in the reasonable judgment of the attending physician, is unable to make decisions affecting medical treatment or other health care services [63 Okl. St. § 3080.2]. However, this presumption is subject to the following statutory exemptions.

  • The attending physician of the incompetent patient knows that the patient, when competent, decided on the basis of information sufficient to constitute informed consent that artificially administered hydration or artificially administered nutrition should be withheld or withdrawn from him;
  • A court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient, when competent, decided on the basis of information sufficient to constitute informed consent that artificially administered hydration or artificially administered nutrition should be withheld or withdrawn from him;
  • An advance directive has been executed pursuant to the Oklahoma Natural Death Act specifically authorizing the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and/or hydration;
  • An advance directive has been executed pursuant to the Oklahoma Rights of the Terminally Ill or Persistently Unconscious Act specifically authorizing the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and/or hydration;
  • An advance directive for health care has been executed pursuant to the Oklahoma Advance Directive Act specifically authorizing the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and/or hydration;
  • In the reasonable medical judgment of the incompetent patient's attending physician and a second consulting physician, artificially administered hydration or artificially administered nutrition will itself cause severe, intractable, and long-lasting pain to the incompetent patient or such nutrition or hydration is not medically possible; or
  • In the reasonable medical judgment of the incompetent patient's attending physician and a second consulting physician the incompetent patient is chronically and irreversibly incompetent; the incompetent patient is in the final stage of a terminal illness or injury, and the death of the incompetent patient is imminent. However, Hydration or nutrition may not be withheld or withdrawn if this would result in death from dehydration or starvation rather than from the underlying terminal illness or injury. [63 Okl. St. § 3080.4]