Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway - A Cheaper Option Than Continuing Care

The following is a post left on Mail Online -

Those whose experience of LCP persuades them to come to its defence have every right to do so. And those whose experience of LCP persuades them to an opposite view and condemn it as a flawed and dangerous scandal have every right to say so, too.

I am responding to the post made by gg, fundamentally. I am reporting on this family's personal experience. 

The terminally ill should not suffer parting from this world in pain if that is at all avoidable. This was the ethic of the Marie Curie nurses tending to their charges, that this parting should be made as gentle as it may be made. That is laudable enough. Outside of the hospice setting where the Pathway was devised, however, this death pathway has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The treatment provisions under the LCP will quickly manifest the indications of the prognosis made.

Mum was not terminally or seriously ill! Of course, there might be those who take the view that old age itself is, by definition, a terminall illness and that is, perhaps, what influenced the decision that set her on the pathway to her demise.

On the day of my mother’s arrival at Caterham Dene Hospital, I was taken aside and asked, if anything should happen – not that it would! – do I want them to have my mother moved to ESH where there are emergency facilities available? I thought nothing more of that. Yes, of course I did! That went without saying. In the context of what we now know, all that makes sense.

For three years, we repeatedly made the charge that there was/is a policy set in place at Caterham Dene Hospital to make no great effort to intervene to preserve life - by ommission, to ‘let them go’ and, by commission, to ‘help them on their way'.

For three long years, these charges were not responded to. For three long years, it was almost as if we had made no such charge at all.

Wait. Would not such a policy, were such a policy to exist, be euthanasia? And is euthenasia not illegal in this land?

Only through PALS did we eventually learn that there is such a policy in use at Caterham Dene and it is called Liverpool Care Pathway.

If there is nothing to hide, what is there to hide?

My elderly mother went into Caterham Dene ostensibly for two or three weeks respite care, to cheer her up as the visiting nurse put it.

All her medication was withdrawn, without our knowledge; the only medical intervention was via oral morphine, commenced also without our knowledge.

To summarise: We were not aware, had not been informed, that this was a nurse-led hospital and that there was no medical doctor on site at the weekend. My mother had presented cyanosed, been left to deteriorate to a catastrophic life-threatening condition, - and they called Thamesdoc who failed to attend.

My mother perished halfway between Caterham Dene and ESH, paramedics ramming tubes down her throat in frantic, vain attempts to revive her. This was reported to me in A & E in explanation of the very apparent bruising upon her.

Just google a search and it is almost impossible not to find reportage of the downside realities of LCP in practice. See other Mail articles and the Telegraph, Sentenced to death on the NHS, for instance, where this family has also left comment along with many other victims.

There, now, I have made this post without resort to using a single capital letter out of its proper grammatical use - despite the hurt and the anger that this family feels at the Liverpool Death Pathway.

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The Department of Health committed to investing 286 million pounds over the two years to 2011 to support implementation of this End of Life Care Strategy. That is 286 million pounds spent to assist people on their path to the next world while denying the necessary funding to keep them alive and well in this!

A Daily Mail on-line article outlines how we in the UK have the worst cancer survival rate in the western world. Doctors in our local surgeries, hospitals and health care centres are providing us with treatments based on our illness, our age, our families. The Daily Mail article explains how doctors tend to late-diagnose older patients or provide them with less beneficial treatments. The elderly are routinely denied surgery or drugs.

Under LCP, these are withdrawn altogether, along with the sustaining basics of life!

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