--- In email@example.com
, "Fr. Alexis Duncan"
> Of course only God has the right to determine when we are taken
from this earth. But it seems to me, that in some cases, the Lord has
called His beloved home, yet man prevents this. Many years ago,
before heroic measures were possible, people just gently fell asleep
in the Lord. Is prolonging life artificially or by some of the
current methods not an abrogation of that process? It is indeed a
thorny issue full of difficult questions. But something bothers me
about feeding tubes and machines. ...
DEAR RESPECTED FATHER ALEXIS and other readers,
Just a commentary on FEEDING TUBES. My father, Alexander (MEMORY
ETERNAL!), had a "feeding tube" placed in January, 2002. It allowed
him to receive complete nutrition, as his illness (cancer of the neck)
and the attempted cure thereof (radiation, which killed his salivary
glands as well as temporarily removing the cancer) was making
swallowing solid food impossible. He was literally starving to death
until this simple intervention was taken.
The recurrent disease proved incurable, but, with nutrition via
a "feeding tube" and by God's grace through the prayers of many
people around the world, my father lived on for nearly THREE YEARS.
During this time, he was extremely productive in his work of creating
and publishing music scores for liturgical use (Metropolitan Vitaly
had told him to 'pray to God to ask Him for time to continue his work
praising Him'). He had the time to train me in his work, so that it
could be continued after his death. He also was granted seeing his
first grandson born and baptized, his son married and blessed for
ordination to the Diaconate... (sadly, he didn't quite live to see
the ordination or the birth of his next two grandchildren, though he
knew they were 'on the way').
My father, almost until the end, administered his tube feedings
himself, manually (without a machine), just as any adult would feed
himself. He did so directly into the stomach through a tube, instead
of through the tube that was his (compromised) esophagus. He died a
Christian death, but not of starvation.
I submit that a "feeding tube" is not an artificial prolongation of
life any more than a spoon or bottle is. A machine that pumps the
heart and lungs when the brain cannot is much different than a simple
tube that facilitates consumption. Everything living needs water and
in Christ's love,