March 29, 2005

I've Been Trying To Clarify

My thoughts on why I find removal of a feeding tube differed from a respirator.
And Soccer Dad helped me to do so.

Many of us who opposed the removal of Terry Schiavo's feeding tube see nutrition as being the equivalent of air to breathe. Cut off her nutrition and it's the same as cutting off her air. You might as well put a pillow over her face. For those who champioined the removal of her feeding tube it's a medical decision; no different from a respirator for someone whose lungs are failing.

If a person is hooked up to a respirator, and is in a vegetative state, it is both the body and the mind that are lost. The body is being kept going artificially.

Terri's digestive system is working fine; it is only the mode of entering food into her system that is different from most others. To remove the feeding tube is the equivalent of putting her in a box until the oxygen runs out. (To choose a less active method). Could anyone countenance such an action (if in fact she doesn't feel pain why not?) Isn't that the same thing as what is being done to her now?

Posted by Rachel Ann at March 29, 2005 01:35 PM

When they need a breathing tube, without it the person can die within seconds or minutes, or they surprise the medical experts and breathe on their own. But the feeding tube removal causes slow starvation. Days, weeks, suffering.

Posted by: muse at March 30, 2005 06:09 PM

Thanks for quoting me.
Rich Lowry has many similar comments, here:

This expert’s argument is that, since she is in a persistent vegetative state, she has “no knowledge of food.” By this logic it would be morally acceptable to suffocate her with a pillow since she has “no knowledge of air.” She could be dropped out of a 15-story window because she has “no knowledge of gravity.” She could be shot because she has “no knowledge of ballistics.”

Posted by: David Gerstman at March 30, 2005 06:22 PM
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