Congee for the Soul

Ezra Gabbay, Joseph J. Fins, John Banja, Taylor Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Provision of adequate nutrition to elderly patients who develop dysphagia after a stroke can be quite challenging, often leading to the placement of a percutaneous entero-gastrostomy (PEG) tube for nutritional support. This hypothetical case describes the additional challenge of cross-cultural belief that leads a daughter to provide oral feeding to her mother, an act that the medical team believes is dangerous and the daughter sees as salubrious. In this case, what is the proper balance between patient safety and deference to cultural traditions and norms? Where are the limits? Two commentaries offer insights for conflict resolution, including recommending that the medical team seek to understand the cultural motivations of the family, balancing safety and respect for cultural norms. The second commentary also disagrees with the team's presumption that the daughter's feeding of her mother is a greater threat to the patient than the PEG tube feeding is.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-12
Number of pages3
JournalThe Hastings Center report
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • artificial nutrition
  • cultural competency
  • dysphagia
  • patient safety
  • surrogate decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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