Saturday, 23 March 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway - And "Shambolic" Doctors

This report from 2007, from Mail Online -

When Penny Campbell fell ill over Easter 2005, she contacted her out-of-hours GP service. The doctor diagnosed a viral infection, but as her health worsened she consulted the service another seven times. 
None of the doctors recognised the seriousness of her condition and Penny, 41, died of multiple organ failure caused by septicaemia on Easter Monday. Here, Penny's partner describes his fury at the "shambolic" state of out-of-hours services.
We were were walking along the canal towpath near our home recently when my son, Joseph, spotted a dandelion. He picked it and started to blow. "You can make a wish," I told him. "But it has got to be a secret."
"You know what I'm going to wish for, don't you?" Joseph said. I nodded and turned away.
What can you say to a six-year-old boy wishing he could have his mum back?
The eight doctors were from Camidoc in North London. 

A similar outsource service, Thamesdoc, failed to attend a summons from Caterham Dene Hospital in the same year as this Mail Online report...

They permitted my mother to present cyanosed on the Saturday and did nothing. I received a call early on Sunday morning to say she was suffering from heart failure and that they were getting the doctor. Still unaware of the reality of the situation, we thought they were actually getting the doctor at the hospital. No, they were calling Thamesdoc! An hour later, another call revealed that Thamesdoc were unavailable and so they had called an ambulance! Excuse me? 
My mother had presented cyanose, been left to deteriorate to a catastrophic life-threatening condition, - and they called Thamesdoc. My mother perished halfway between Caterham Dene and ESH, paramedics ramming tubes down her throat in frantic, vain attempts to revive her. This was reported to me in A & E in explanation of the very apparent bruising.  [Letter to Healthcare Commission]
First negligence lies with the Caterham Dene nurses who attended my dear mum, who permitted her to descend into this state. Second negligence must certainly lie with Thamesdoc in neglecting to attend with urgency; in fact, in not attending at all!. In a life or death situation, an hour can make all the difference in the world; the patient, the victim of this disgraceful negligence, might still have been brought back from the brink.

On the pathway, negligence is not negligence, however; it is protocol and death is success. Was this negligence or was it protocol? It is certainly madness.

Are we permitted to know the names of the attending staff, the nurses who treated my dear mum? No. The N&MC have stated, and repeated most categorically, that we may not.

In Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals, George D. Pozgar states: "Patients have a right to be informed of the names, qualifications, and positions of the caregivers who will be in charge of their care in the hospital. Patients have a right to know the functions of any hospital staff involved in their care and to refuse treatment, examination, or observation by any of them. These rights include:  
1. Patients should know who is treating them by name, discipline, and role and responsibility in their care plan. 
2. Patients should know the names of all consulting physicians and hospital designated care givers 
3. Caregivers should identify themselves to patients by name,discipline, speciality, and identification badge of the treatment team."  
According to Kaplan & Sadock: "Patients have a right to know the position and professional status of persons involved in their care." 
In Practice  and Patient's Charters throughout the UK, amongst the numerous rights listed, is 'a right to know the names of the doctors and other professional staff involved in your care.'  
According to, 'You will be told the names of the staff responsible for your care and how to contact them.' [email to N&MC]

Are we still not permitted to know the names of the attending staff, the nurses who treated my dear mum? The N&MC stated in response, and repeated categorically, that we are not.

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