Starvation is Not Painless or “Peaceful”

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Kate Kelly describes what it was like to watch her mother die of hunger and thirst after her older sister and brother had her food and water withheld after she suffered a mild stroke:

Even as the morphine, quickly injected by a disconcerted nurse, caused the old woman’s eyes to close and her face to relax, I doubted its efficacy. I thought back to the night before, when I, in tears at the old woman’s slow dying, had been confronted by a delegation of four of the nursing staff, each of them in turn trying to convince me that the old woman was not suffering in any way at all. The morphine, they said, takes away all pain.

But, I answered them, she can feel: she’s squeezing my hand, and if I try to take my hand out of hers, she squeezes tighter, and when I hold a little piece of gauze to her lips, she tries to suck the water out of it. She’s thirsty! This is a horror; this is cruelty!

Read more. And weep. And then pass it on to inform others of the cruel reality of death by starvation.

This should be a no-brainer. We arrest people who treat animals this way. But the sickening reality is that the starvation of people who’s lives are considered no longer worth living happens way more often than we hear about — with the permission and assistance of the law.

What’s worse, euthanasia advocates honestly suggest that this method of killing is not as brutal as it looks and sounds.

There is a difference between a dying person who can no longer contain nutrition or hydration and a severely brain damaged/disabled person who cannot feed himself. There is a difference between allowing nature to take its course and actively starving a person to death.

Not only does denying patients of these basic human needs ultimately amount to euthanasia, but it can really only add to their suffering and discomfort – not to mention be an even harder sight for loved ones to bear.

Also, consider this: Martin Pistorious “woke up” from a PVS diagnosis after 12 years. In a new book, Pistorious has revealed that his mind was aware for most of those years. This should give us all pause — especially considering he’s not the first or only person something like this has happened to.

Despite our advanced technology, there’s still so little we know about the human brain. What we do know, however, is that people never become vegetables. They retain their humanity regardless of their state and deserve respect and love and the basic necessities in life, including food and water.

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