Scroll forward to 1 hours and 55 minutes, then to 2 hours and 7 minutes
Frances Finn sits in for Andy Whittaker
Full transcription follows:
Frances Finn 1.55
Now, have you heard of something called the
Care plan? From what we can make of it at BBC Radio Nottingham,
it’s a way of looking after a patient who is going to die that really
accelerates their death. Eh, water and food can be withdrawn. You’re going to
hear from one Nottinghamshire woman who is horrified to find out that her
father was put on this plan even though she believes he wasn’t terminally ill.
More on this to come -
Frances Finn 2.07
. My dad was 82, actually,
82, okay. He was admitted to hospital, but you don’t think he was terminally ill.
No, he definitely was not terminally ill. He was admitted with shortage of breath. His doctor was concerned that he had pneumonia. And as such he was being treated for pneumonia in the hospital.
Now, this Care Pathway, as I said, it can accelerate a patient’s death and, I think in the case of the terminally ill, you can understand that, for the patient, that can be the best way forward. You know, why elongate the suffering of an individual? But, you had no idea this was on the cards until you began to notice a few signs, didn’t you? What did you notice?
Well, we noticed that, em, is the common denominator seems to be people are moved into a side room, there’s no actual monitors on them, they have a mask on them and they have no food and no water. And basically, any sign of movement and the nursing staff come in and up their sedatives and up the morphine. So, basically, eh, it’s almost gassing them.
Were you asked if you wanted him to be put on the Pathway?
Not at all, no. No, we, we had absolutely no idea what the Liverpool Care Pathway was until all this came out in the press very recently and it was something that was mentioned in passing like just mentioning, you know, there’s a storm in America. That’s about all we knew about it.
And you found out for sure after the coroner made his report, is that right?
Yes, my brother was able to examine the, eh, medical certificate at the crematorium before my father’s funeral and he annotated what was on there because we queried something when we went to the bereathement centre, em and, basically we just wanted to find out what it was that they said dad had died of. At the time, you don’t sort of take things in. So, my brother had made extensive and copious notes about what it actually said on there and the bottom line was that he was put on
Care Pathway. Well, I couldn’t believe it. I thought that’s tantamount to
Because you don’t believe he would have died?
I don’t believe he was that ill that it needed anything like that to actually, em, kill him off, basically, no. My dad, two hours before he died, was trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.
And you say that he was wanting water, he was asking for water?
Yes, when we were actually there with him on the Wednesday, we weren’t allowed to give him a cup of tea or anything like that. We had these little doily sponge things to give to him em…and er, when we actually
To wipe the water round the inside of his mouth? (repeats)
Yes. That’s right, yeah. And basically we wetted these things for him and it was like seeing a newborn baby sucking on a bottle. He was gasping for water, or fluids. It was awful to see. I mean, now I know what it’s all about, if I’d known as much as I do now, you know, then, I probably would have created absolute mayhem and, at the moment, I just feel that something more could have been done and I just feel terrible, I really do.
I believe that the rules are that accompany the pathway are that if a patient does start to show signs of thirst, movement as you say, that is a situation that demands a review. You know, if that patient on the right plan for their care…
They were ignoring those signs?
Exactly right. There are four criteria they should actuall adhering to. One is that they’re comatose. The other one is that they can’t swallow tablets. The other one is that they can’t speak. And also that they can’t get out of bed. Well, you tell me which one my dad was because there’s supposed to be at least two of those which are tantamount to putting people on the pathway. And I have to say, he was none of those. If a man was trying to get out of his bed two hours beforehand then, certainly, he was not bedridden, and certainly he was swallowing, and, you know, whatever… it was just a catalogue of disasters to be quite honest.
Denise, the way you describe him just sucking on that little sponge, that must be now so heartbreaking for you. At the time, you thought you were doing your best but, now looking back, how do you feel?
I feel like I murdered him. (pause) It’s… That’s how I feel. I feel so… I’m so… I’m going to get upset, now. I actually feel that there should have been more that we could have done… (sobs) it’s awful to think that my dad won’t be here anymore and I struggle with it every day to try and think, you know, what could I have done. But at the time, you think, you know, you’re putting your trust in a doctor who knows best. And so, therefore, you don’t criticise what they’re doing; you think they’re doing the best for people who are in hospitals. And I have to say, talk about losing faith with the medical profession, having read so many disgusting, absolutely horrific stories about what’s happened to other people’s relatives, I’m sorry, but this, this has to stop and I’ve set up my own Facebook page for people to contact me on. And there are three other Facebook pages which I am also a member of and hearing people on a daily basis coming forward and telling me their stories about what’s been happening is, actually, disgusting. And I’ve actually turned round and said we should contact our MPs, although, having said that, I’ve tried to make contact with two MPs who are pro the er this Dignitas thing. One is Norman Lamb who is actually in Norfolk, one of my MPs, and the other one is Anna Soubry, who is one of your MPs, but as we’re not in their area, neither of them are interested, so how do you actually, em, contact them to tell them that, actually, what’s happening with the Liverpool Care Pathway is actually being abused because…? People… are making money
Well I know that… There is an investigation being carried out into this pathway itself, as a care strategy if you like. We have asked
to comment on
what’s happened, Denise. They haven’t been able to provide somebody to speak
about it but I will just read you what the statement has been from the Sherwood
Forest NHS Hospitals Trust. It says the Kings Mill
Care Pathway enables healthcare professionals to focus on care in the last
hours or days of life. It provides high quality care tailored to the patient’s
individual needs when their death is expected. Using the pathway in any
environment requires regular assessment and involves regular reflection,
challenge, senor decision making, clinical skill in the best interests of the
patient. The family of Mr. Charlesworth
hasn’t raised their concerns directly with us but we would be happy to
meet with them. Just finally, Denise, will you meet with them?
I definitely will because I want to know why they thought they could play god with my father.
I’m so sorry to hear of what you’ve been through, Denise, and as I said there is an investigation now as other patients in other parts of the country have raised their concerns about the pathway. Thankyou for talking to us.