Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway – An Intentional Act Of Killing

It is frightening to think that, according to MailOnline, Baroness Warnock has said that elderly people suffering from dementia are “wasting people’s lives” and “wasting the resources of the National Health Service” and should be allowed to die.

Lady Warnock’s comments, which were published in an interview with the magazine of the Church of Scotland, Life and Work, have been condemned by dementia charities.
She told the magazine: “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.”

The Telegraph has headlined that in the Netherlands, where euthanasia laws have been passed onto the statute book, fearful elderly people carry 'anti-euthanasia cards'

Kevin Fitzpatrick, a researcher with the pressure group Not Dead Yet, claimed that relaxing the law in this country would threaten old and disabled people as it would allow “moral judgments” that their lives were not worth living.

“Disabled people, like others, and often with more reason, need to feel safe. Thus eroding what may already be a shaky sense of safety in medical care poses a further threat to disabled people’s wellbeing, continuing care, and life itself.”

He cited the experience of Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, the disabled founder of Not Dead Yet, who was once told by doctors that they “presumed” she wouldn’t want resuscitation if she experienced complications during treatment.

“Very scared, she stayed awake in hospital for more than 48 hours.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “The doctors’ judgment, based on the idea of a “life not worth living,” is a moral judgment not of facts (medical or otherwise).

“A law permitting euthanasia would reinforce this position, further clearing the ground to take away lives based on a moral judgment rather than medical fact. The threat will extend to the lives of older, disabled people too.”

He mentioned the comments of Lord McColl made in the House of Lords that in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been officially legalised and regulated since 2002, doctors found the cases increasingly easy to carry out while “many elderly people in the Netherlands are so fearful of euthanasia that they carry cards around with them saying that they do not want it”.

This was a reference to the Dutch Patients’ Association (NPV), which has 70,000 members of whom at least 6,000 have “living will declarations” stating that they do not want euthanasia if they are taken into hospital or a nursing home.

Other Dutch people, however, make written declarations of their “will to die”.

Mr Fitzpatrick concluded: “These discussions are complex, involving deep moral questions that cannot and must not be treated as though they were merely matters of fact with clear and obvious answers that everyone must share, as though logic dictated it.

“The lives of many disabled people depend on resisting attempts to introduce a law legalising the intentional act of killing.”

It is frightening that there is already a legal document in place that permits the intentional act of killing.

That legal document is the Liverpool Care Pathway.

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