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March 16, 2007

is Starvation Really Painless?

Topics: Remembering Terri

Two years ago Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, appeared on Nightline to discuss their bid to withhold nourishment and hydration from Terri Schiavo for the purpose of ending her life. Michael's statements included the following assertions

Terry will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away. This happens across this country every day.

Death through removing somebody's nutrition is very painless. That has been brought to the courts many of times. Doctors have come in and testified. It is a very painless procedure.

I hope that the viewing audience was able to see through Michael's absurd suggestion that withholding nourishment for the purpose of ending life is somehow different than starving a person to death.

Michael also claimed that his wife's death would be "painless" and Nightline asked no follow-up questions nor produced any rebuttal witnesses. They could have interviewed Kate Adamson who at one time was in a coma and survived having nourishment withdrawn for eight days. Here is what she said,

ADAMSON: When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I thought I was going insane. I was screaming out in my mind, "Don't you know I need to eat?" And even up until that point, I had been having a bagful of Ensure as my nourishment that was going through the feeding tube. At that point, it sounded pretty good. I just wanted something. The fact that I had nothing, the hunger pains overrode every thought I had.

Nightline could have mentioned that forced starvation is considered torture and a violation of international law [more].
According to medical experts, after her feeding tube is removed, Mrs. Schiavo will experience extreme pain and significant psychological distress during the two weeks that her starvation-execution is expected to take.

Her skin, tongue and lips will crack due to dehydration. Schiavo will likely suffer chronic nosebleeds as mucous membranes dry out, followed by heaving and vomiting as the stomach lining dries out.

Her mouth is expected to develop painful ulcers. As Schiavo's brain is deprived of fluid, she is expected to suffer grand mal seizures. - Newsmax

And, Nightline could have asked any nurse that has actually observed the "procedure" described as "painless" by Michael Schiavo. Here is what one such individual wrote on her blog:
All ethics put aside, all arguments about what is a life and what isn't-the very worst part of what I do is watching others die a slow death. It is horrible and I don't deal well with it.

By removing nutrition and hydration via the tubes, patients take days to die. They literally dry out. There skin becomes dry and scaly; their lips dry out and then the mouth can no longer open. The person either rolls in the fetal position and stays that way, or they lay out flat. They no longer void and their eyes become sunk in very deep.

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.

I hate to use the term "put to death" but that is what it is. No need to beat around the bush here and don't let anyone tell you it isn't that simple. It's wrong and it's barbaric. Life is life, and anyone alive who has not made their wishes known should be allowed to live. As to quality of life, who are we to decide what that is? - AndRightlySo

The grim reality is that murder through starvation is immoral, ugly and painful no matter how euthanasia activists attempt to dress it up. The complicity of ABC News in promoting without question Michael's characterization of killing via starvation in a stinging indictment against the network.

Posted by tim at March 16, 2007 11:18 PM

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