Friday, 20 April 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – 'An Horrific Prospect'

The following was posted in 2009 by the Greater London Pensioners Association on their blog site.

In that year, this family was still in the midst of a battle of wits with the PCT and the Healthcare Commission to dig out the truth behind what had happened to my mother whilst in the care of the NHS (National-socialist Health Service). We were finding the whole complaints process to be just a ruse to grind us down and send us on our way, our tail between our legs.

We were still, at that time, unaware of the complicity of the State in what we had assumed to be an institutionalised and covert practice, of which the profession was aware but which no-one made mention of. We now know the full extent, courtesy of PALS, of that complicity and this “horrific prospect” that is the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Monday, 16 November 2009


An horrific prospect looms for all those souls nearing death or very ill such that they need intensive hospital care. Care is the operative word here. Thanks to a local pensioner colleague in Romford and the local Romford Recorder this 'pathway' (according to aforesaid local newspaper) encourages medics to remove treatment, including fluids, food and medication from patients who are considered close to death.

What boundaries does this cross? What frightening doorways does this open?

This method, apparently, was originally devised for the use of a Liverpool Hospice which sought a peaceful conclusion to a terminally ill person's life who was suffering and in pain. A Hospice's prime function (although this aim often gets overlooked and is often erroneously regarded as a means of substituted hospital treatment), is that where there is no hope at all of recovery, the victim/patient should be made as comfortable as possible and at peace in their last days on this earth, thus being able to pass away with all dignity, care and love. It can never and should never be a MEANS TO CONCLUDE that life whether taking place in a Hospice or Hospital, Residential Home or Nursing establishment of any kind.

This is one step from the ultimate abuse. What happened to the Hippocratic oath? Anything which invades that patient's safety or security is a dangerous practice in itself. To withhold treatment which would prolong life is tantamount to murder. Let there be no mistake about this.

We are now in an area in which the anti-euthanasia people battle strongly. There are some things in life where you are either for or against and cannot sit on any easy fence. This is one of them.

Let us consider the position of a patient in circumstances fulfilling the criteria of the Liverpool Pathway and, which position is exactly that, for which an anti-euthanasia supporter is so justly aware of. The line between compassion and ulterior motive can become fuzzed up. Where the continued existence of a patient appears to be blocking the advantages which friends and relatives might gain from that person's death, then it is not difficult to imagine those potential beneficiaries urging the shutting down of life support, sustenance and other life giving provisions, and not only kidding the authorities that they urge this murderous procedure for the benefit of the patient, society and those directly responsible but worse, kid themselves that they urge this from the finest of motives they hold personally.

Encouraging death can never be right, moral or ethical. We must not go down this path. One step along this way and we become something so horrible, so akin to the worst scenario depicted in Wells, Orwell and other prophetic writers, that we change our perception of all that is precious on this earth. We become like those justifying nuclear warfare, chemical attack, biological bombs and ethnic cleansing such as that which dirtied this World in Bosnia, Nazi Germany and several African States. The Prayer: "God Protect me from Myself" becomes frighteningly apposite here. We must save our hospitals, hospices and other places of care from notions of helping others towards peace. They must be saved from themselves if this is indeed the path of all.

What about those not threatened in this way but in near death circumstances and who make a miraculous recovery; who rally when there was apparently no hope. To 'assist' a closure in this way is not mercy but a convenient shutting down, a deadly playing of God.

You and I may quite soon find ourselves in a hospital bed alone, on life support, being fed, washed and toileted, helpless in fact. We would need to be able to trust those around us for protection and security. We must never find ourselves in a place of dread and fear should this "method" become the official one, then society (that's you and me) has gone down a road to darkness.

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