Sunday, 28 April 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway - The Dispassionate, The Merciless And The Cowardly

Not content with one insult, this secret court adds further insult to injury in its determined pursuit of assault on decency.

Who are these witchfinder-generals who persecute and imprison the innocent?

Do they call this newspaper the Daily Fail because it does not fail to cling on resolutely and neither flag nor fail in its determination to publish the truth?

This is Mail Online -

After John Maddocks was placed in one care home his family believed his condition was deteriorating and his daughter flew him out to her home in Turkey where he spent 13 weeks before returning to England and another care home, run by the local authority.

Ivan Maddocks said yesterday: ‘After he was put in the care homes something was really wrong. He wasn’t happy. He wasn’t eating properly. I took him out one day and he fell asleep. He was all out. I think they were over-drugging him. He collapsed in the care home.

‘In three weeks his kidneys were failing. He was just bones, dead thin with his eyes rolling over occasionally, on a drip, twitching. On the death certificate it said he had died because he hadn’t been eating or drinking.

‘Wanda was right all along. Something was really wrong. He would have been better living with the family. If he’d have been allowed  to stay with Wanda he’d still be alive. In Turkey, he liked the sun, he seemed healthy. Dad, in his last home, wondered why Wanda hadn’t visited. I said I’m not supposed to tell you this – and don’t tell the council – but they locked her up.

‘He thought Wanda wasn’t seeing him because she was fed up of him. It was because they kept her from him. I said no, she still loves you. He just went quiet. I’m sure he understood what I said.’

A spokesman for the care home has denied it caused the death of Mr Maddocks.

Ivan Maddocks said the family wanted a full investigation into the care their father received but spoke of feeling powerless after their experiences with the court system.

‘There were so many injunctions it was unreal,’ he added. ‘It’s wrong. People should be able to speak  out. I’ve never heard of anyone being jailed for trying to look after their father.’

The Witchfinder-Generals -

Matthew Hopkins, played by Vincent Price in the 1968 film (right) and Judge Martin Cardinal, played by himself, 2013 (left)

The Court of Protection was set up in 2005 under the Mental Capacity Act – one of Tony Blair’s most contentious laws. 

It gave legal force to ‘living wills’, instructions from patients ordering doctors to let them die if they became gravely ill. Here STEVE DOUGHTY looks at how the court works:

  • The court makes life-or-death decisions when the power to withdraw life-sustaining treatment is in dispute. It also governs the correct use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, orders which can give care homes and hospitals the right to prevent a resident or patient leaving, if it is considered in their best interests. Backbench Labour MPs feared the legislation could be used to withdraw fluids and food from patients who might not wish to die.
  • The court makes rulings on power of attorney – decisions on who should have control of the money and property of those deemed no longer competent to handle their own affairs.
  • Originally Labour ministers said Court of Protection cases should be heard in public, but in 2006 the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, issued guidance which said ‘the court may order that identities of people involved in a case are not disclosed if it is considered necessary to protect their interests’. He added: ‘The circumstances under which the court may consider that all or part of a hearing should be heard in private are wide.’
  • Court of Protection judges rule in hundreds of everyday power of attorney cases, where people want control of the bank accounts of elderly relatives with dementia. In the past this function had been handled quickly and efficiently by officials as a matter of routine. Now families can suffer long delays.
  • By 2009 the average delay was four months – at a typical cost of £400 and the Court of Protection had attracted 4,000 complaints. The court is currently handing 2,700 cases a year – more than ten for every working day – and long delays continue.
  • Among the court’s current caseload is thought to be 30 life-or-death cases. Recent examples that came to light when judges published their rulings included a case in which a Muslim family tried to save their father. Hospital doctors said he should be allowed to die, but some witnesses had seen the man move his eyelids and grimace. In another case a judge ruled that a man with a disabling disease had consented to a living will by blinking at his wife and that his breathing machine could be disconnected.
  • No-one involved in any such case has ever been named. The secrecy maintained by the Court of Protection is such that in 2011 it obtained an injunction which forbade a newspaper to speak to any of 65 people, or to allow its journalists to go within 50 yards of a care home. The case involved a family who wanted an incapacitated elderly relative to be allowed to die.
  • Only one Court of Protection case is ever known to have been conducted under media scrutiny. The 2010 case involved the welfare of the Duchess of Cornwall’s nephew, blind and autistic pianist Derek Paravicini, and journalists were allowed in only after a lengthy application process.
  • And although Wanda Maddocks is thought to be the first person jailed by the court, no-one can be sure – someone else might have been imprisoned behind the court’s accustomed closed doors.

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