I noticed this item in Zenit about fussing in certain Catholic circles about secular “attempts” to derail the beatification of our last pope and Mother Teresa. This bit drew my attention:
A recent story from Time magazine speculated on whether John Paul II was euthanized by the removal of feeding tubes during his last days.
The story was prompted by the speculation of Dr. Lina Pavanelli, an anesthesiologist in Italy. Time magazine reported that the doctor “believes that the Pope’s doctors dutifully explained the situation to him, and [Pavanelli] surmises that it was the Pontiff himself who likely refused the feeding tube after he’d been twice rushed to the hospital in February and March.”
Later George Weigel is quoted.
Conservative Catholics have feeding tubes on the brain since the CDF statement, it seems. But it is an undeniable fact that human beings who are dying experience a shutting down of the digestive system.
In the last few weeks and days of life, it is normal for the patient to refuse to eat. Usually dying patients do not feel hungry or thirsty; they are not starving. Nature is at work helping them to die in a more comfortable way. (Link)
People who are dying who refuse food are not committing suicide. If Pope John Paul II experienced a lack of desire to eat, it may well have been part of the natural dying process. There’s no story here, either for people looking to trip up the Catholic Church or to muse about conspiracy theories of discrediting the Church.
gastrostomy tube placement for feeding has been increasing over years even though the merits PEG placement in many such indications is controversial and impacted by complex issues.