Can you really kill a man by gluing his anus shut?

A recently reported method of torturing gay men in Iraq sounds horrifying.

Andrew Sullivan points to an article that spares no graphic details: “. . . anti-gay Shiite death squads are sealing their anuses with a powerful glue, then inducing diarrhea, which leads to a painful and agonizing death.”

But, can someone really die from this novel form of torture?

Emergency physician Shadowfax has his doubts. First off, it is extremely difficult to seal an anus so tight that it prevents the expulsion of diarrhea. “Even if the glue adhered, and even if the glue were flexible and strong enough to withstand the pressure,” writes Shadowfax, “the skin itself would probably tear as the victims involuntarily strained and the stool would blast right through the ‘seal.'”

Worst case, a severe case of colonic obstruction may result, but these are uncommonly instantly fatal, and those that are, primarily are due to indirect and slow means, such as sepsis stemming from perforation.

So, although this torture method is most certainly painful, whether it can actually kill someone remains in question.

An interesting analysis. Before reading it, I can’t really say that I had put that much thought into this specific scenario.