Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Liverpool Care Pathway - A Determination For Termination

In recent days, Rebecca Smith, Telegraph Medical Editor, has produced a confusion of reporting and confusing articles.

Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are being placed on a “death pathway”, almost double the number just two years ago, a study published today shows.

Health service guidance states that doctors should discuss with relations whether or not their loved one is placed on the scheme which allows medical staff to withdraw fluid and drugs in a patient’s final days. In many cases this is not happening, an audit has found. As many as 2,500 families were not told that their loved ones had been put on the so-called Liverpool Care Pathway, the study disclosed.

- Loved ones not always told their relative is on controversial 'death pathway'

These articles, a hotchpotch of conflictingly sourced comment, culminated in a report from NICE that, actually, patients are under-treated.

These two quoted statements from the same article above suggest that the problem with the LCP, or the "death pathway" as  Rebecca Smith refers to it, is in its implementation and not in its substance -

Kevin Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the campaign group Not Dead Yet, said: “It is very worrying that in any situation less than 100 per cent of families are being consulted before patients are being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is a shock for families to find that out.

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said: “The NHS is clearly moving in the right direction. However, the report highlights there is a need for further training and education on end-of-life communication. As a society we need to appreciate that dying is not a failure of medical care and treatment, but dying badly is.”

Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick supports the right to live; Sarah Wootton supports the right to die. Dignity in Dying is the pro-euthanasia lobby group. LCP has been equated with back-door euthanasia. If Sarah Wootton sees implementation of the flawed LCP as moving in the right direction, that is worrying, indeed.

This comment is from the LCP Petition site:

23:40, Dec 02, Dr. Patrick Pullicino, United Kingdom
It is not scientifically possible to diagnose impending death as the LCP purports to do. The LCP is instead an assessment of the perceived quality of life of the patient by the medical team and as such is euthanasia.

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