Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Pulling off the ventilator

Fatwaa ID: 1687

Question:
Salam, my grandmother is 83 years old. Unfortunately she is dealing with many health issues. she is a late stage dementia patient, she cannot do any normal day to day activities on her own, nor does she have any cognitive function. Over the last 2 years she has been on a ventilator due to an aspiration event that lead to pneumonia. Since being on the ventilator she has been using a PEG tube for feeding which goes directly into the stomach. Over the last few months the PEG tube has been giving her difficulties. The original hole had become too big so they performed another procedure to make another hole. This resulted in a fistula (tunnel) forming between the two holes in her stomach. She has other complications such as contracted legs and arms, severe pressure sores on her feet, and a reoccurring hemoglobin deficiency which is treated by repeated transfusions every few weeks or sometimes more frequently.
In regards to her mental state she is not brain dead. However, the greatest movement she can do is a swivel of her head and sometimes movement of her pupils.
The doctors that we have consulted have said that putting her on hospice, which would pull her off the ventilator, is the best option for her. My father and his siblings would like to try a different procedures to try to fix the PEG tube issue.
Due to the pain that she is in, she is often on heavy painkillers such as morphine. Our question for you all: is it permissible to pull someone off the ventilator in this state?
Jazakallah Khair for your time, please keep my family and my grandmother in your Duas.

Answer:
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

May Allaah Ta’aala make it easy for her and the family. May He grant her full shifaa.

It is permissible to take off the ventilator. However, this is a sensitive issue and should be done after consulting the family members. It should be noted that essentials like food and drink must be continued. They cannot be stopped.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
https://askthemufti.us/

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

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