Friday, 25 November 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway – One Step Beyond A Bradburian Fantasesque

A Bradburian or Barbarian world?

Dignity in Dying requires a physician’s commitment to embark upon the role of the ‘merciful executioner’.

Physicians are under oath to protect life and to do no harm. Assisting with or involvement in the actual taking of life is not a role for physicians to consider or should take on.

Physicians should be mindful of maintaining choices. Keeping the options open is always an imperative. Assisting with or involvement in the actual taking of life is a denial of choice. It is a one-way route to a final destination.

Palliative care, necessarily, may involve administering pain relieving medication even if that hastens death. Assisting with or involvement in the actual taking of life, however, is something rather beyond that; it is the administering of medication with the prime directive of and in order to hasten death. That is a leap in the dark, a step into the abyss that will lead who knows where.

LCP is not tantamount to assisting with a suicide, of course; it is something rather beyond even that, though. It is the decision, with purposeful intent, to terminate a life taken on the behalf of another and others; it is medical professionals playing God with others’ lives.

It is medical professionals taking it upon themselves to conclude that a person in their care has reached Death’s threshold and is dying. It is medical professionals ‘diagnosing’ death and using LCP as the tool with which to accomplish this.

Medical misdiagnoses can have fatal consequences

Errors not rare

Medical errors are far from rare, according to several comprehensive studies of the issue.

But diagnostic errors - a subset of the overall problem - haven't received nearly as much attention as other medical errors since the nationwide patient-safety movement began in 1999 with the publication of the landmark Institute of Medicine report, "To Err is Human."

"Diagnostic error is barely on anybody's radar screen," said Dr. Mark Graber, 62, a nephrologist in Long Island, N.Y., and an expert on diagnostic errors.

The "To Err" report estimated that at least 44,000 and as many as 98,000 Americans die each year from all types of medical errors. More recent studies indicate there has been little progress since 1999, with as many as one in three or one in four hospitalized patients being harmed in some way by medical errors.

The statistics indicate as many as 9 million patients nationwide and between 400,000 and 528,000 patients in Illinois are harmed each year.

These unreal, fantasesque statistics from the Springfield Journal Register on misdiagnosis are not drawn from any Bradburian nightmare. Misdiagnosis can have fatal consequences.
Even so, misdiagnosis may result in any of many outcomes. Misdiagnosing death that results in being placed on the LCP will have only one outcome. LCP is a one-way ticket on the NHS (National-socialist Health Service) into the next world.

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