Monday, 19 September 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway - A Slippery Slope, Indeed

It has been said that we are on the threshold of a slippery slope.

Under the banner headline, Legal assisted suicide creates 'slippery slope' to doctors killing without consent, expert claims
Martin Beckford writes,

Prof David Jones said that if society agrees that it is in some people’s interests for them to end their own lives, it is difficult to resist the logical conclusion that others should be helped to die even if they have not made such a request.

He claimed this situation already exists in the Netherlands, where voluntary euthanasia is legal but where about 500 patients are also killed a year by their doctors without requesting to die.

Clinician-assisted suicide has been in place for decades.

Prof Jones, director of the centre for bioethics at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, said: “My view is that it will lead from people who have asked to die, to people who cannot ask.”

Dr Howard Martin, the retired GP who
admitted hastening the deaths of patients

The issue of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia has been highlighted recently after a retired GP, Dr Howard Martin, admitted to The Daily Telegraph that he had hastened the deaths of many patients including some who had not given their consent.

Police first investigated him in 2000 after complaints from nurses at the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. He remained suspended after his acquittal while police and a coroner looked into the deaths of dozens of other patients in case sufficient evidence could be found for fresh charges.

Dr Martin, who believes that about half of all doctors give injections to those who are about to die, said he felt no guilt or remorse.

Dr Martin was investigated over a total of “30 or 40” deaths. 

Dr. Shipman, Britain’s most prolific serial killer, with an estimated 258 victims, once briefly worked as a locum at Dr Martin’s practice.

The Telegraph quotes author, broadcaster and columnist, Gerald Warner that The Liverpool Care Pathway may be the slippery slope to backdoor euthanasia.

Could the most ardent fan of George Orwell have asked for a more classic, totalitarian euphemism than "the Liverpool Care Pathway"? That is the technical term employed by the NHS for a system of patient assessment that selects those deemed "close to death" for withdrawal of food and fluids or being placed on continuous sedation until they die.”

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