It sounds innocent enough. Incurable patients are gently and peacefully eased from this world into the next, in the lap of loving care. This is a comforting label for a license to kill which is now being adopted in many British hospitals – the Liverpool Care Pathway. However, we discover from heart-rending reports in the UK media that end-of-life care can mean that patients – including seriously retarded new born babies – are starved and dehydrated until they pass away, in torment.
If this were a story about National Socialist death camps, instead of the United Kingdom in the 21st century, people would shake their heads at the horrors of the past. Yet authenticated reports demonstrate that in some admittedly rare cases, patients who were not terminally ill found themselves on the Pathway, without their consent or knowledge. Moreover, in one just such distressing instance reported in the Daily Mail, a sick man was placed on the Pathway in exactly those circumstances. Despite the protests of his family, he was cut off from all medical treatment, food and fluids and unsurprisingly died rather horribly.
The hospital did not deny the circumstances but informed the patient’s utterly traumatized relatives a mistake was made because nurses couldn’t locate the patient’s records, as if that made things any the better. So they argued, they did not know what to do with him. The case illustrates the curse of managerialism which has seized power over British hospitals, initiated by Thatcher, mesmerized as she was by corporatizing the health system, then magnified by the eager beavers of Blair’s New Labour. The Mail reported
‘Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies. One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken.’
The infamous Jozef Mengele, Doctor Death of the Nazi concentration camp regime, would smirk at the chime with his ‘innocent’ medical experiments on those who were unable to protest or help themselves. These stories are breaking at a time when Britain’s much vaunted health service – once upon a time worshiped as a kind of established religion – is coming apart at the seams.
The Pathway originated with a registered charity – the College of Medicine – set up in the 1990’s in North West England (hence ‘Liverpool’.) The adoption of a termination program – and those are the words demanded in the grim circumstances – originating outside the health service caucus was a rather convenient bureaucratic fix to push the responsibility for devising Death Row mechanics away from the NHS, into the hands of ‘experts’ who arms-length devised the programme.
It is thus converted to an optional exercise for doctors to adopt or not, as the case may be. The NHS itself can thus absolve itself from conniving at deaths of children and adults in order to ration scarce resources and save money from tight hospital budgets.
Read this, again from the Mail.
Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice pediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticize the use of death pathways for children. ‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die’ She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.
Dr Laura de Rooy, a consultant neonatologist at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust in London wrote to the British Medical Journal (which reported the ‘mercy killing’ of the ten babies) stating of the victims: ‘It is a huge supposition to think they do not feel hunger or thirst.’ The Mail cited a document called ‘Liverpool Pathway for the Dying Child’ circulated by the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust. It specifies includes ghoulish ‘tick boxes’ to be completed by hospital doctors listing the medicines, notably the nutrients and fluids to be stopped.
dailyalternative | alternative news – Nazi-type eugenics introduced in the UK as ‘health service’ consigns patients to death row