I want to be prepared in case the doctor recommends a feeding tube for my brother whose electrolytes go out of balance, particularly sodium level. He ends up becoming dehydrated; additionally he suffers back to back bladder infections and fever, probably from the foley catheter he must use.

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Is your brother near the end of his life? If he is, the decision should be up to him whether he wants to prolong his life. If he is unable to make the decision, the person with his healthcare proxy will have to. Of course, it will be based on what was written in the advanced directives (living will).

I am accustomed to seeing electrolyte imbalances and dehydration corrected with IV's, rather than feeding tubes. If something could be corrected with an IV, I would certainly be in favor.

I am missing something here probably. I was wondering why he might need a feeding tube. Please tell us more about your concerns.
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My brother had a feeding tube, and I am so glad he did.
My husband refused a feeding tube, and I am so glad he did.

The decision is highly personal and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Some factors to consider:
1) What does Brother want? If he is no in his right mind at this point, do you have any evidence of what he wanted when he was able to make his own decisions?
2) Would this be temporary, until he recovers enough to eat on his own? Or would this continue the rest of his life?
3) How important is food to your Brother. Is he a real "foodie"? Or someone who eats just because he has to, but won't mind skipping it?
4) Is Brother in an end-of-life stage? What is his prognosis?
5) How old is Brother?
6) Does Brother have dementia or other cognitive issues?

There are lots of things to take into consideration.Do a little research via Google and try to find information applicable to the situation your brother is in.
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Talk to the MD about Hospice as opposed to a feeding tube. He can explain the different scenarios to you and the prognosis. It sounds like there is more of a problem here than just dehydration.
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Did your brother ever put together a living will? Did he execute a Healthcare Power of Attorney? His thoughts about a feeding tube should be spelled out there. If not, have you ever had those kinds of conversations with him? What has he indicated his wishes would be? Is his condition terminal? Would the feeding tube be permanent? What makes you think the doctor will recommend same? Is he not eating on his own? They don't insert feeding tubes because someone becomes dehydrated, just in case you thought they did. Taking all of that into account, and probably more, would YOU want a feeding tube put in if you were in the same situation?

Way too many questions.
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