24 Med. & L. 279 (2005)
Strict Vegan, Low-Calorie Diet Administered by Care-Giving Daughter to Elderly Mother - Is This Elder Abuse

handle is hein.journals/mlv24 and id is 289 raw text is: 

Med Law (2005) 24:279-296                                Medicine
                                                           and Law
                                                         CYOZMOT2005

Medical Law

STRICT VEGAN, LOW-CALORIE DIET ADMINISTERED BY CARE-
GIVING DAUGHTER TO ELDERLY MOTHER - IS THIS ELDER
ABUSE?
E-L. Marcus *, C. Wasserstein Fassberg **, J.Namestnik*, D.Guedj*,
Y.Caine*


      Abstract: We present a case in which a 40 year old woman, who was
      the primary care-giver of her 78 year-old mother, provided a strict vegan
      diet which caused the mother severe malnutrition. The mother was
      hospitalized with severe functional deterioration and, while eating a
      proper diet during hospitalization, gained weight and her condition
      improved. The case was reported to the Welfare Officer and the mother
      was released under the supervision of the Welfare Officer. Cases of
      severe malnutrition and even death of infants who were fed a strict
      vegan diet have been reported. This case raises some ethical and legal
      issues. Should a guardian or a caregiver be allowed to make decisions
      regarding the way of life and medical treatment of the person in his/her
      charge which are likely to endanger that person's health and when is it
      appropriate for society to intervene in individual freedom? The paper
      includes a review of some reported cases of child and elder abuse or
      neglect which illustrate these issues.

      Keywords: Patient's autonomy; vegan diet; malnutrition; elder abuse;
      elder abuse laws; caregiver; guardian


Case Report
A 40 year old woman, who was the primary caregiver of her 78 year-old mother,
provided a diet which caused the mother severe malnutrition. The daughter
was a strict vegan. The mother, who was widowed, lived with her daughter
and was dependent on her. The daughter provided the mother with the same

* Acute Geriatric Department, Herzog Hospital,
** Law Faculty Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


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