In the last stage, which occurs once the fat reserves have depleted, proteins become the primary source of energy and the muscles quickly deplete. Once this stage has set in the starving person could return to eating a healthy diet and it would not make too much of a difference because the cilia in the stomach has lost its capacity to absorb essential nutrients. Eventually cell functions stop, organs shrink, and the body begins to eat itself until there is no way for it to sustain life. This sounds like a gruesome and painful way to die. So with a little bit of details of starvation, let us get acquainted with the case of Terri Schiavo.
Terri Schiavo collapsed in her home on February 25, 1990 at the age of 26. She suffered cardiac arrest and anoxic brain damage. The lack of oxygen to the brain caused major brain damage. The cerebral cortex had been completely destroyed and replaced by cerebrospinal fluid. Her upper brain was estimated to be about 80 percent destroyed. However her brainstem, which is responsible for breathing and heartbeat, was still functioning properly.
This allowed Schiavo to survive with the assistance of a feeding tube. Terri Schiavo was diagnosed to be in a Persistent Vegetative State (P.V.S). She then emerged from the coma and then into a persistent vegetative state. A persistent vegetative state is "a permanent and irreversible state of unconsciousness in which there is an absence of voluntary or cognitive behavior and an inability to interact purposefully with one's environment".
In 1998 her husband received permission from the circuit courts of Pinellas County, Florida to pull Schiavo's feeding tube. This would cause Schiavo to die an excruciatingly painful death of "starvation and dehydration" that would have lasted approximately "10 to 14 days". Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, is preferable over the painful death that Schiavo has been sentenced to. This would allow Schiavo to have a quick, painless, peaceful, and most importantly humane death.