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Dr. Fessler discusses in detail the implications of starvation induced psychological changes for the ethical treatment of hunger strikers, but cannot bring himself in his conclusions to deviate from respecting the competent hunger striker's decision to continue to fast until death. This is clearly also the virtually unanimous Western ethical consensus, giving autonomy the priority over life.
In another publication  I reported a contrary decision of an Israeli district court in the case of a hunger striking prisoner which stated categorically that when human life conflicts with human dignity the preservation of life takes precedence. In this case, as well as others, including one cited in the International Red Cross Committee document on the subject, the prisoner, after being force-fed, expressed his gratitude at his life having been saved against his expressed opposition. This is not infrequently the case. Hunger strikers who are competent by all standard criteria may often be trapped into continuing onto death by their own rhetoric and pride, as well as by their embarrassment from their political compatriots. When force-fed they can retain their pride and conviction at not having capitulated- and, as a bonus, keep their lives as well, enabling them to use their talents in their continuing struggle for their cause. It is sad that the rigid adherence to the value of autonomy at all costs has caused the death of so many young and often idealistic young people.
(1) Fessler DMT. The implications of starvation induced psychological changes for the ethical treatment of hunger strikers. J Med Ethics 2003;29:243-247.
(2) Glick SM. Unlimited human autonomy - a cultural bias?
N Engl J Med 1997 Mar 27;336(13):954-6.