Doctor: Replacing Terri Schiavo’s Feeding Tube May be Possible

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Doctor: Replacing Terri Schiavo’s Feeding Tube May be Possible Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 30, 2005

Pinellas Park, FL ( — A doctor speaking for the Schindler family said on Wednesday that it may be possible to reinsert Terri’s feeding tube, even after such a long period of time. His comments come after news reports highlighted a doctor who said doing so would cause Terri’s death.

Dr. Jay Carpenter, an internist hired by Bob and Mary Schindler to help determine whether Terri could swallow, told CNS News that it was wrong to say reinserting Terri’s tube would be futile.

"To me that is…just speculation and that’s a highly irresponsible statement to make. The fact of the matter is we don’t know if it’s too late. It may be too late, but then again, it may not," he told CNS News.

Carpenter told the Cybercast News Service that no studies exist showing how patients react when a feeding tube is reinserted after 13 or 14 days of starvation and dehydration.

Such a study would be "unethical" Carpenter said.

Instead, doctors can only learn of the effect on patients in actual cases where feeding tubes have been reinserted.

Carpenter pointed to Kate Adamson, a New Zealand athlete who had her tube removed for eight days.

"The only information we do have is from Kate Adamson who did go for eight days without any food or fluid, and she was successfully rehydrated," the doctor told CNS News.

Carpenter’s comments came in response to an Associated Press interview with Dr. Sean Morrison, a professor of palliative medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Morrison says if Schindler’s kidneys had shut down that reinserting the feeding tube may only provide Terri with hours or days to live.

He also said it could drown Terri by supplying her body with fluids it can’t expel.

Whatever happens to Terri, Carpenter says she is suffering while she is being denied food and water.

"Kate Adamson went without food or fluid for eight days, and she said when she recovered that it was the most painful horrific thing she’s been through," said Carpenter. "This whole thing [denying Schiavo food and water] is cruel. It’s unusual."

Related news stories:

CBS News Posts Prewritten Story Saying Terri Schiavo Died

Terri Schiavo’s Parents’ Last Motion on Terri Saying "I Want to Live"

Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans

Neurologists: Terri Schiavo Not in Persistent Vegetative State

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –