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March 19, 2005
Starvation - A Painless Death?Topics: Medical Issues
ABC News is now reporting that Terri Schiavo's death "is likely to be very serene." Dr. Fred Mirarchi, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, is quoted in the statement, "The process of starving to death seems very barbaric but in actuality is very peaceful."
First, we're not giving up. Second, this report could not be further from the truth.
In his book, Wesley J. Smith describes the intense suffering imposed on those being starved to death. [source: Newsmax, Sept. 23, 2003]
"Proponents of dehydration contend that deaths by dehydration are peaceful," Smith wrote. Noting that "the patients we are discussing are not terminally ill" and that those who are conscious can feel hunger and thirst, Smith quotes Dr. William Burke, a neurologist in St. Louis, who described the agonizing process.
"A conscious person would feel it (dehydration) just as you and I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucous membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water. Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death."
The next step, Smith predicts, will be the abandonment of dehydration in favor a much simpler and faster way to kill – death by lethal injection, now popular in prison death chambers.
In his book Smith concludes by asking if we will "take the hard turn down the slippery slope towards a coarsening of our view of the afflicted, the dying, the chronically ill, the disabled, and those in pain or depression, to the point where we feel they have a duty to die and get out of the way?
"Will we choose to love each other, or abandon each other?"
In the case of Terri Schiavo, the authorities have chosen abandonment.
For more, see Killing Through Starvation is Painless?. A witness to numerous starvation/killings writes,
I won’t go into anymore details as it is kind of gross, but it isn’t a pretty thing. Usually the docs and nurses do a “terrific” job with pain killers. The dying, supposedly, feel no pain. I don’t think that is ever true. I see them moaning and I have seen little tears rolling out of their dry eyes. The last patient I witnessed being put to death like this took 3 weeks to go. How sweet.
Posted by tim at March 19, 2005 12:32 AM
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