Friday, 27 April 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – The Death Criterion

The old, the weak, the vulnerable, the frail and the fragile, not necessarily close to death, but whom may easily trip or be tipped over the edge into oblivion; these, needing – requiring – that extra bit of care and attention, whose condition demands it, these are those most likely to be chosen to be placed on the death pathway.

These, most dependent upon society’s tolerance and compassion, most needing of care and attention, these are those most vulnerable to the attentions of those who, godlike, will gift what they regard merciful passage from this world without concern to want or wish or will.

The Death Pathway sets out to sanitise the human condition such that it becomes shallow, bereft of feeling, a uniform exit from this world. Perversely, when caring is most required it is withdrawn; when compassion is most wanted it is found wanting.

The priority of good palliative care is always to diminish pain, not to hasten death; it is paramount to keep in sight that the guiding purpose and principle is life, not death; that the intent is the one, even when and even though the outcome is the other. Caring is an obligation upon the human condition; it is a privilege of service; it is a catharsis for the soul. 

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