Norwegian medical professionals have decided to allow a 31-year-old female asylum seeker from Palestine to continue her hunger strike at Arendal Hospital, southern Norway.
Both family members and doctors are worried that the woman, who began her protest three weeks ago, could die at any time.
Nevertheless, the ethics council for the hospital concluded, Monday, that doctors must not force feed her, and that the woman can continue as long as she can continue to communicate.
The woman began her hunger strike after her asylum application was denied, she feels that returning to the Gaza strip is too dangerous for her husband and three-year-old son.
“She is sure that it is dangerous for us in Gaza, where we come from. She believes it is better to die in Norway than we lose each other in Palestine”, her husband told TV2.
The hospital’s Per Engstrand says that it must be the woman who makes the decision over whether to begin to eat.
"In relation to the way the law is, I think it's the right conclusion. However, both doctors and family members try to persuade her to take nourishment”.
Engstrand told NRK that the woman’s husband wants to give her food but this would go against the decision and the law.
"Norwegian law is very clear that autonomy, or self-determination, means a lot. Meanwhile, health care professionals are trained to save the patient's life and ensure that the patient lives as long as possible. Legislation is very much in conflict with ethical rules," he concluded.
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