Giving New Meaning to ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the light’
Dylan Thomas, long believed to have died from chronic alcoholism, may in fact have succumbed to a mistreated pneumonia, a new biography of the poet alleges. The Scotsman‘s Fiona McGregor reports that
Thomas had complained he could not breathe and was “suffocating”, but he was not diagnosed with pneumonia until nearly 24 hours later.
His personal physician, Dr Milton Feltenstein, initially decided he had delirium tremens and ignored the possibility of a chest infection.
Feltenstein injected the poet with three doses of morphine, which the biographers say restricted his breathing. After the third dose, Thomas’s face turned blue and he sank into a coma.
Feltenstein and all others who treated Thomas at New York’s St. Vincent’s hospital are now dead. The biography quoted in the article is Dylan Remembered 1935-1953 and came out in the States last summer.