“A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another…shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment…”
Recently, the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph have attacked the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) which is designed to ‘help’ relieve dying patients of their suffering by withdrawing nutrition and/or hydration. In some cases, hospitals have been accused of not consulting patient’s relatives.
There have been several testimonials from families who had taken their loved one off the pathway, and, after feeding them, saved their lives as a result.
In the case of Patricia Greenwood, who told the daily mail of her miraculous recovery; she was put on the pathway by doctors in Blackpool but her family defied orders and gave her water which brought about the start of a remarkable recovery.
Patricia can now walk with the help of a zimmer frame.
According to new government proposals, relatives of terminally ill patients would have to be consulted before such action is taken. An inquiry has been started amid claims by Conservative peer, Baroness Knight, that some patients who were treated this way had a chance of survival.
She said “to die needing water cannot be pleasant”.
Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt has also promised tough consequences for hospitals who fail to consult.
There are still some questions needed to be answered, such as the funding of this road that leads to a supposed ‘pleasant death’. Is taxpayers’ money indirectly encouraging hospital staff to put people on the ‘pathway’ who shouldn’t be there? The response to a Freedom of information request from the Daily Telegraph suggests that at least £12.4m has been paid out in the past three years.
It is unbelievable that this ‘pathway’ has been active for many years yet the UK dramatically rejects euthanasia. The evidence for this country’s strong moral objection to assisted suicide was publicised recently by the case of Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from locked-in syndrome after a stroke, he wanted to be helped to die and fought his battle with the courts very publicly.
It is hard to see the distinction between the ‘care pathway’ and assisted suicide or euthinasia.