William Burke, MD, PhD, Professor at Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, as quoted in Wesley Smith's article "A 'Painless' Death?," which appeared in the Nov. 11, 2003 Weekly Standard, explained:

“A conscious [cognitively disabled] person would feel [the removal of a feeding tube] just as you or I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucus membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water! Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death.”

Nov. 11, 2003