The L.A. Times hastens to reassure you that Terri Schiavo’s death by starvation and dehydration will not be cruel:
“This is not a cruel procedure,” [Dr. David A.] Goldstein said. “It is unlikely that [Terri Schiavo] will feel pain in any way that we as sapient people will identify. Many family members think it is a very comforting procedure … because this is not the way we think we want to live.”
Of course, Dr. Goldstein has never experienced dehydration and starvation himself. Now listen to the words of someone who has: Kate Adamson. She was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, and doctors removed her feeding tube. She was aware of everything that was happening to her, and she suffered terribly — and lived to tell about it:
When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was — thought I was going insane. I was screaming out 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. . . . [W]hen Michael [Schiavo] on national TV had mentioned last week that it’s a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed. It is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture . . .
Adamson elaborated to Wesley J. Smith, explaining that starvation was worse than having an abdominal operation with inadequate anesthesia:
The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted not several hours like my operation did, but several days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, “Feed me. I am alive and a person, don’t let me die, for God’s Sake! Somebody feed me.”
. . . .
I craved anything to drink. Anything. I obsessively visualized drinking from a huge bottle of orange Gatorade. And I hate orange Gatorade. I did receive lemon flavored mouth swabs to alleviate dryness but they did nothing to [slake] my desperate thirst.
How interesting that, in the L.A. Times article, we hear from the reassuring doctor — but not from someone who has actually experienced this agony.
(Wesley J. Smith link via Spoons.)
UPDATE: A version of the Wesley J. Smith article in the Weekly Standard appends the following correction:
The article originally stated that Kate Adamson had been deprived of nourishment in an attempt to end her life. In fact, the dehydration was being done in attempt to alleviate a bowel obstruction. The painful surgery Adamson refers to was originally referred to as surgery to insert a feeding tub[e]. It was actually surgery to remove the bowel obstruction, which is a more involved procedure.
Thanks to commenter Ed at “Oh, That Liberal Media” for the link.