Sunday, 23 December 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – A Damning Commentary.

This MailOnline report asked -

Why, in the 21st century, are NHS patients dying in agony from bedsores?

The Telegraph pondered -

7:30AM BST 04 Jul 2011

Bedsores kill almost as many patients as the MRSA superbug and health chiefs warn the cost of treating sufferers uses four per cent of the entire NHS budget.
The sores - also known as pressure ulcers - cause hundreds of deaths a year, taking hold when bed-bound patients are not regularly turned over or given special mattresses by nurses.
Most victims are elderly or long-term patients who need help to move.

This is evidence of gross neglect.What does this care, or the lack of it, say about the culture that provides it? What happened to the dedication of care and compassion that once motivated people to join the nursing profession? That was when it was more important to observe the patient rather than the document.That was when it was more observant to watch the ticking off from the Matron rather than ticking off the boxes in the 'evidenced' nursing notes.

This is the New York Times -

The article offers other instances of selfless compassion by communities in providing for continuing care and support for disabled and afflicted members.

New York Times

Ancient Bones That Tell a Story of Compassion

Lorna Tilley
DISABLED Almost all the other skeletons at the Man Bac site, south of Hanoi, are straight. But the man now called Burial 9 was laid to rest curled in a fetal position that suggests lifelong paralysis.

When Ms. Tilley, a graduate student in archaeology, and Dr. Oxenham, a professor, excavated and examined the skeleton in 2007 it became clear why. His fused vertebrae, weak bones and other evidence suggested that he lies in death as he did in life, bent and crippled by disease.

They gathered that he became paralyzed from the waist down before adolescence, the result of a congenital disease known as Klippel-Feil syndrome. He had little, if any, use of his arms and could not have fed himself or kept himself clean. But he lived another 10 years or so.

They concluded that the people around him who had no metal and lived by fishing, hunting and raising barely domesticated pigs, took the time and care to tend to his every need.

“There’s an emotional experience in excavating any human being, a feeling of awe,” Ms. Tilley said, and a responsibility “to tell the story with as much accuracy and humanity as we can.”

This case, and other similar, if less extreme examples of illness and disability, have prompted Ms. Tilley and Dr. Oxenham to ask what the dimensions of such a story are, what care for the sick and injured says about the culture that provided it.

The archaeologists described the extent of Burial 9’s disability in a paper in Anthropological Science in 2009. Two years later, they returned to the case to address the issue of health care head on. “The provision and receipt of health care may therefore reflect some of the most fundamental aspects of a culture,” the two archaeologists wrote in The International Journal of Paleopathology.

And earlier this year, in proposing what she calls a “bioarchaeology of care,” Ms. Tilley wrote that this field of study “has the potential to provide important — and possibly unique — insights into the lives of those under study.” In the case of Burial 9, she says, not only does his care indicate tolerance and cooperation in his culture, but suggests that he himself had a sense of his own worth and a strong will to live. Without that, she says, he could not have stayed alive.

If the provision and receipt of health care reflects some of the most fundamental aspects of a culture, then how will future generations look upon us?

Just read these pages. We have the ilk of Martin Amis calling for 'euthanasia booths'.

Baroness Warnock has said that elderly people suffering from dementia are “wasting people’s lives” and “wasting the resources of the National Health Service” and should be allowed to die.

Jacques Attali, has said, "As soon as he goes beyond 60-65 years of age man lives beyond his capacity to produce, and he costs society a lot of money...euthanasia will be one of the essential instruments of our future societies."

The leader of Scotland's doctors has questioned whether society can afford to pay thousands of pounds to keep terminally-ill people alive for weeks or months when health service budgets are under unprecedented strain. 

As long ago as 2000, Dr. Rita Pal was warning that the elderly are being helped to die to free up beds.

A damning commentary.

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