Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – Rage Against the Machine

A doctor reports in the Calgary Herald on assisted suicide in Oregon

I was caring for a 76-year-old man who came in with a sore on his arm.

The sore was ultimately diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, and I referred him to two cancer specialists for evaluation and therapy.

I had known this patient and his wife for more than a decade. He was an avid hiker, a popular hobby here in Oregon. As he went through his therapy, he became less able to do this activity, becoming depressed, which was documented in his chart.

During this time, my patient expressed a wish for doctor-assisted suicide to one of the cancer specialists.
Rather than taking the time and effort to address the question of depression, or ask me to talk with him as his primary care physician and as someone who knew him, the specialist called me and asked me to be the "second opinion" for his suicide.

She told me that barbiturate overdoses "work very well" for patients like this, and that she had done this many times before.

I told her that assisted suicide was not appropriate for this patient and that I did NOT concur.

If Shipman was callous and totally lacking in any sensitivity to the enormity of his deeds, then the attitude of this doctor must be judged in like manner. The doctor is calmly discussing the taking of a life.

…barbiturate overdoses "work very well" for patients like this

…she had done this many times before

It is surreal. There is no care or concern for the patient as a human being. It is a process, a formality. A procedure is become a brutal, callous, thoughtless conveyer belt devoid of feeling, sanitised by a cruel logic.

With every new case, the medical personnel become more case-hardened. It is obscene.

It is reported in these pages how one doctor’s timely intervention prevented a patient's life being taken on the Liverpool Care Pathway. The consultant in charge of this patient had been blinkered by the conveyer belt logic of the ‘end of life’ protocols. It took someone refusing to step inside the box and to continue thinking out of the box to step in and make the difference.

Making a difference… That used to be the reason for going into medicine. Sadly, that is no longer the case. Medicine, as practiced by the NHS (National-socialist Health Service) is become a machine against which we must all rage!

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