Thursday, 20 December 2012

Liverpool Care Pathway – Death By Application

This is Care Commentary at Teesside University -

Care Commentary

Continued controversy over alleged abuse of the Liverpool Care Pathway

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) continues to attract controversy. The LCP, in summary, involves applying particular approaches to the final days and hours of a person’s life. It commonly involves the deep sedation of the person and the withdrawal of treatment that otherwise could prolong life. This includes not giving food and fluid. The use of heavy sedative drugs plus the lack of food and drink normally results in the person dying within 30 hours.
There is continuing argument between advocates and critics about whether it is ethically and professionally correct to use these methods of not prolonging a person’s life and, in particular, the withdrawal of food and drink. It is often said by critics that the withholding of liquids in particular can cause greater pain and discomfort than is consistent with proper care of the person.
Despite protestations from the advocates of the Liverpool Care Pathway that all is well, criticism continues of its potential harmful consequences. In particular, one criticism is that the LCP may be causing increased deaths due to its ‘deliberate circumvention’ – a term used by critics in the Church of England, including Philip Fletcher, the chairman of the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council. This is a response to proposals by Lord Falconer to introduce legislation aiming to make assisted suicide legal. Defenders of the LCP talk about the proper use of protocols regarding ‘Do not attempt resuscitation’, whilst critics allege that in some circumstances this can be prone to accidents or even deliberate circumvention.
" the LCP may be causing increased deaths due to its ‘deliberate circumvention’ "

Use and application of the Liverpool Care Pathway - by seeing the cup half-empty instead of half-full - is a life-negating and death-effecting experience.

By setting its procedures in place, both those of omission and those of commission, the  patient is already put at a considerable disadvantage such that an outcome of possible probability is overturned into one of very probable certainty.

Consigned along a Pathway without turnings, only the more hardy and resilient may be retrieved.

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