Fallacies about the Schiavo Case: The Case for Starving and Dehydrating Terri Schiavo to Death Was Built on Hypocrisy and Deception

By Eddlem, Thomas R. | The New American, April 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

Fallacies about the Schiavo Case: The Case for Starving and Dehydrating Terri Schiavo to Death Was Built on Hypocrisy and Deception


Eddlem, Thomas R., The New American


The culture of death revealed its face in the propaganda campaign for Terri Schiavo's demise. Perhaps the most noteworthy fact of the entire ordeal, other than the killing of an innocent woman by starvation, was how thoroughly the American people were lied to throughout the entire affair.

Consider, for instance, the major media claim that death by starvation and dehydration is painless. According to the New York Times: "Patients who are terminally ill and conscious and refuse food and drink at the end of life say that they do not generally experience pangs of hunger, since their bodies do not need much food."

The Times quoted Dr. Sean Morrison of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York as saying: "They generally slip into a peaceful coma. It's very quiet, it's very dignified, it's very gentle." The Los Angeles Times quoted another expert, Dr. Perry G. Fine of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, as saying of starvation: "There's nothing unpleasant about it--in fact it can be quite blissful and euphoric.... It's a very smooth, graceful and elegant way to go."

Of course, one does not have to be an "expert" to recognize that this distorted view of death by starvation and dehydration defies common sense. If starvation is not all that bad, then why should we be concerned about the plight of famine victims? And if Terri Schiavo was not experiencing pain, then why was she given morphine? Revealingly, the same forces that supported withholding food and water from Terri did not criticize giving her morphine to control the pain they say she did not have. Moreover, why would an IV drip for hydration be deemed excessive while an IV morphine drip is not?

Those who argue that Terri Schiavo could not feel pain should consider the terrible ordeal of Kate Adamson. Mrs. Adamson suffered a severe stroke in 1995 that left her totally paralyzed, but she has since experienced what has been called a "miraculous recovery." Mrs. Adamson, who opposed the removal of Terri's feeding tube, recounted for THE NEW AMERICAN how she was aware of what was happening when her own feeding tube was removed for an eight-day period because her digestive system (unlike Terri's) had shut down. "I was screaming on the inside: 'I don't want to die,' 'feed me,' 'I want to live,' "Adamson recalled. "I could feel everything and do nothing, as though I was suspended in a black hole. When the feeding tube was removed, I felt it being ripped from my body."

Here are a few other egregious lies propagated by liberals to justify Terri's death by starvation and dehydration:

* Liberals claim that the decision of a husband to kill his wife by denying her food and water is a "private matter." Since when has a husband killing a wife been considered a private matter under our laws?

* Terri's husband Michael claims that Terri would have wanted her feeding tube removed rather than live in the state she was in. But Terri did not put this wish in writing, and others who knew her say that she would not have wished to be killed. Moreover, Michael did not bring to light Terri's supposed wishes until seven years after her injury.

* Advocates of the culture of death claim that they were allowing Terri to "die with dignity" by removing her feeding tube. Implicit in that statement is the notion that a slow death by starvation and dehydration is dignified and that Terri Schiavo retained the mental capacity to understand and agree with this. …

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