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Handbook for Mortals : Tube Feeding (Fluids and Food)

When are feeding tubes beneficial?

There is no question that feeding tubes help thousands of people recover from or live with what otherwise might be a terminal condition. Sometimes people who suffer a stroke cannot swallow at first and a tube is inserted to provide hydration and nutrition. Often these patients can learn to eat again, and the tube is eventually removed. Sometimes a patient with throat cancer might not be able to swallow after successful treatment of the disease. He or she may have a feeding tube and still carry on otherwise normal activities. Few would question whether feeding tubes are appropriate in cases like these. But there are many cases where feeding tubes and IVs are more of a burden to the patient than a benefit.

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