According to this article,
The Observer in the UK reported Sunday that Catholics in the UK have taken to carrying special ID cards informing doctors that they do not wish to be deprived of food and fluids in the case of admission to hospital.
In a growing worldwide trend, doctors in the UK consider what used to be routine care--administration of nutrition and hydration, by artificial means if necessary--to be "treatment" which can be refused or denied.
The cards state that the holder would like a Roman Catholic priest to be notified and for nursing care to "include fluids - however administered."
Once upon a time, food and water were considered basic care. But as we know from the Terri Schiavo case, food and water can be removed if the patient just won't do the polite thing and die quickly enough.
Carrying a card requesting food and water in the event of hospitalization may not guarantee protection from the changing policies, as a 46 year-old British man suffering from a degenerative disease found last year.
Leslie Burke, who has a neurological disorder that will eventually leave him paralyzed and unable to speak, was concerned that he would be denied food and water once his disease progressed to the point that he could no longer speak for himself.
The General Medical Council opposed Burke’s request for a guarantee that he would receive food and fluids until natural death occurred, saying it must reserve the right to withhold food and water from patients at a doctor’s discretion.
Burke took his battle to the European Court of Human Rights after the British court system refused to grant him legal protection. The EU Court ruled against Burke’s request, saying there were adequate protections in place in British law that would prevent the premature removal of food and water.
Alex Schadenberg, head of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews.com at the time that the European court "erred significantly" in the decision, putting patients all over Europe at risk.
Although doctors have always had the authority to determine if further treatment would be burdensome and futile, Schadenberg said, doctors are now being given the freedom to make such decisions based on cost effectiveness and patient "quality of life", instead of purely medical considerations.
"Modern bioethics philosophy has rejected the concept of purely medical futility. The treatment is not considered futile; the patient is considered futile," Schadenberg said.