Friday, 30 November 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – And The Temerity Of Arrogance

It really is true to say that the judgement call is always - If this one can be brought back from the brink...

is this one really worth saving?

This is The Telegraph - 

If the Liverpool Pathway had been around when my half-brother Lorenzo was diagnosed, he wouldn't have survived a week

By   Last updated: November 29th, 2012

Lorenzo Odone with his father

Having a friend who works as a consultant in a hospital is a bit like knowing someone who works in the kitchen of your favourite restaurant: they can tell you the sous-chef's been spitting in your soup. Thus, when I asked my friend the consultant about the Liverpool Pathway he told me the horrific truth: everyone involved on the medical side knows this is euthanasia by any other name. Medics are panicking about the number of elderly Britons entering hospitals. The demographics point to this being a longlived trend rather than temporary phenomenon: something had to be done.
Incredibly, today, we learn that even the very young who are very ill are pushed onto this "pathway". I cannot imagine any parent, reading the description of what happens to these babies, ever allowing their child to be placed on the Pathway. To do so would mean condemning them to waste away before your eyes, shrinking into nothingness as they are deprived of life-sustaining ingredients.
You don't need to have my friend's qualifications to know that withholding liquids and food from any human being is a cruel means to certain death. Doctors, nurses, technicians who remove those feeding tubes from elderly patients or very disabled young ones, are complicit in killing off those patients. The motive may not be cruelty, but a pragmatic approach to NHS rationing;  the end result however is the same.
The Liverpool Pathway prides itself on predicting, accurately, when the time is nigh. But death is not "certain", nor is its timing: when someone is ill or very disabled but adequately fed and watered, they may survive for years. I know this first-hand: doctors told my parents that my half-brother, affected by Adrenoleukodystrophy, would die within a year or two of his diagnosis. They were "certain" of this. Lorenzo lived to 30. Had the Liverpool Pathway existed then, he would have been pushed on it – and his life extinguished in a matter of weeks. This is what Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary means by the "contempt" in which the NHS holds us.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Eldoel, for a number of excellent recent postings that remind all of us that we must keep fighting to end the appalling treatment that so many patients, young and old, though older patients in particular, now receive at the hands of the NHS. These are very helpful postings.

    I cried this morning when I read of the barbaric treatment of a number of patients by two Worcestershire hospitals between 2002-2009.

    We're told this sort of health barbarism:

    "nurses taunted patients"..."vulnerable patients were left starving and thirsty, with drinks left out of reach, buzzers ignored and people left to sit in their own waste by the very people meant to be caring for them."

    this doesn't happen any longer.

    Yet we repeatedly read reports of this sort of neglect happening all over UK - too often under the guise of the Liverpool Care Pathway.

    For me, it's one of the major issues of the LCP that such appalling treatment of patients is inevitable in a society that, in order to cut costs and ration treatment, adopts ideological and political reclassification of groups of patients - older people, disabled people, people who are chronically sick - as unworthy of adequate treatment.

    One of the hugely worrying aspects of the LCP is that it offers too easy a route for covering up such appalling treatment and neglect as that in the two Worcestershire hospitals.