Medical Center’s Log Shows Starvation Took Toll on Eluana Englaro Quickly

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 11, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Medical Center’s Log Shows Starvation Took Toll on Eluana Englaro Quickly

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 11
, 2009

Rome, Italy ( — The log from the medical center whose staff began the process of starving and dehydrating Eluana Englaro to death shows it took its toll on the disabled woman quickly. Englaro suffered from the effects of the withdrawal of food and water more rapidly than similar patients and died faster as well.

“Monday afternoon, temperature rises. Mucous membranes dry. Nurses spray lips with water droplets," the log read on Monday. A few hours later, Englaro died.

The Italian daily newspaper Corriere Della Sera says a "distress log" accompanied Englaro’s medical records during the final days of her life.

The newspaper indicated the Italian nuns who took care of Englaro prior to her arrival at the medical center where she was deprived of food and water did a good job because she arrived in a very healthy condition.

The log indicated staff continued to feed Englaro for three days to familiarize themselves with her condition prior to killing her. They also continued the treatments the nuns gave her such as turning her body over every four hours, giving her antiepileptic drugs, and removing mucous saliva by suction periodically.

The notes say the beginning of the deprivation of food and water began at 6 a.m. on Friday morning. Then, Eluana’s nasogastric tube was shut with a stopper and the “distress log” was opened.

Just 24 hours later, on Saturday afternoon, Eluana had difficulty breathing and her mucous membranes were dry. Nurses sprayed water with a nebuliser, the paper indicated.

By Sunday, her medical condition deteriorated significantly.

Although nurses continued turning her body and spraying her mucous membranes with more water, Marinella Chirico, a RAI journalist who saw Eluana, reported that she was “unrecognizable, there are abrasions on her ears."

By that time, Eluana was under sedation with the drug Delorazepam, injected subcutaneously.

On Monday, staff continued to turn Eluana’s body from side to side every four hours and the nurses moistened her lips with water at 10.15 a.m as sedation continued.

The log records the final moments saying her temperature rose in the afternoon on Monday, Englaro was weak breathing with extreme difficulty and still under sedation. She produced no more urine and by 7.35 p.m. her heart stopped beating and the clinic pronounced her dead.

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